Bury St Edmunds: Blow for town as shop set to close

A HOUSEWARES retailer is set to close after the opening of a rival discount chain in the same Suffolk town.

Thing-Me-Bobs in Bury St Edmunds will shut at the end of January after four years in the town.

Colin Lawrence, director of the chain, blamed the opening of Poundland in Bury’s Cornhill for the downturn in his business.

“We are closing in Bury,” Mr Lawrence said. “I’m not making any money there.

“Business has been difficult since Poundland came to town so we are moving somewhere a bit cheaper.”

Thing-Me-Bobs has been based in Bury’s Abbeygate Street for the past four years, selling household plastics and discount products.

But since Poundland moved into the former Woolworth building in October last year, Mr Lawrence said times have been tight.

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With high overheads in his current store, Mr Lawrence hopes to open the chain in a slightly cheaper location in February.

“I will be sad to go and the public have supported us very well,” he said.

“We have got a lot of friends and, hopefully, we will see them again in our new premises.”

In August, Mr Lawrence applied for permission to keep displaying plastic boxes and garden items outside his store in the town’s prestigious Abbeygate Street.

Despite objections from nearby businesses, who claimed the display would make the street look unsightly, Mr Lawrence was granted the permission.

But yesterday he said he was still being forced to move.

“I would definitely have shut by now if I didn’t get that permission but it is difficult trading at the moment, with overheads being so high,” he said.

“Abbeygate Street is quite expensive and quite small.

“I’m hoping the new place will be bigger.”

Mr Lawrence said all six staff at the Bury outlet will keep their jobs but could not confirm the new location of his store as details were still being finalised.

“Customers are generally very sad to see us go but we are re-locating so, hopefully, we will get to see them again,” he said.