Felixstowe: The Wharf and Halfords pull out of town while QD Stores deny rumours they are moving in
- Credit: Newscast/Mathew Growcoot
Major changes are set for Felixstowe town centre this summer with two of its biggest stores about to close.
The Wharf and Halfords are both pulling out of the town, leaving two huge gaps in Hamilton Road.
Meanwhile, QD Stores has denied rumours that it is taking over the premises to create a large department store, though it is looking for new premises for its Thing Me Bobs shop.
Cycle and auto shop Halfords, which has been in the town for more than 30 years, is closing on July 5. It is understood most staff will transfer to the Ipswich store.
Last month the firm announced a £100million three-year plan to upgrade its stores and the introduction of 15,000 new lines from over 180 brands in bike parts, clothing and accessories sections.
A Halfords spokesman said the Felixstowe store was closing because the lease was about to expire and it had been decided not to renew it.
The next nearest store was on the Europark retail complex on the Felixstowe side of Ipswich, and it was felt this would be close enough for customers to reach in future.
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Mark Nafi, owner of The Wharf, said the lease was coming to an end for the shop, which has been there 15 years.
He said: “It is a popular shop in the town centre and we would like to stay in the town if suitable alternative premises became available.”
The shop would close at the end of the summer, but he stressed that The Wharf in Ipswich would remain open.
Speculation in the town suggested that QD Stores might be about to take over one or both of the shops when they close.
However, company spokesman Peter Muir denied that QD would be opening in the town.
But Thing Me Bobs could be on the move.
He said: “The Thing Me Bobs group was acquired by us last year and the decision was taken to let the shops continue as they are – if nothing is broken, there is nothing to fix.
“There is no question of our leaving the town but we are looking for alternative premises at the moment and I think this is what fuelled the speculation.”
Chamber of trade chairman Andrew Rowdon said: “It is very sad to see these closures and frustrating.”