Laura Ashley in Bury St Edmunds is closing down
- Credit: Archant
Fashion and homewares store, Laura Ashley, is to close its Bury St Edmunds store after more than 30 years in the town, it has emerged.
Although the company declined to officially confirm or deny the closure, staff at the store which occupies a prominent location in Cornhill, put up signs yesterday reading ‘Closing down – 40% off all fashion stock’.
They told customers the ‘consultation period’ over store closure had begun and that it was likely to shut early September when the current lease on the building expires.
Last night, a spokeswoman for the company said: “At this time, Laura Ashley doesn’t have a comment to provide.”
However, as the signs went up, customers expressed their shock and disappointment, with many asking if it was true. One Laura Ashley fan, Mary Brown, described it as “dreadful news”.
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“I have been coming to this shop for decades,” she said.
“I know the current trend is to shop online but I much prefer to come in and see what the clothing looks like in the flesh – and to try things on. I know a lot of people will think similarly.”
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Another customer, who did not want to be named, added: “Laura Ashley has been in Bury for so long, it’s part of the fabric of the place. The shop is always busy and I believe has been one of the best performing Laura Ashley stores in the region. I cannot understand why they would even consider closing it.”
Mark Cordell, chief executive of Our Bury St Edmunds BID, said he was aware that the tenancy on the building was available. But he added: “I am hopeful that something can be done to keep them (Laura Ashley) in the town.
“But if they do go, that is a real shame because they have been trading in the town for many years.
“My hope would be that they would relocate to somewhere else in the town.”
It is understood that Laura Ashley is seeking alternative premises, but not in Bury St Edmunds. According to staff, among possible locations is an out of town store on the outskirts of Ipswich. The company had a shop at the Buttermarket Centre in Ipswich until August 2015.
The Bury St Edmunds building, 1 The Lexicon, is currently up for rent with London property consultants, Patrick Bates, at a cost of £120,000 per annum.