THE CLOSURE of a town centre retailer would continue a ‘sad’ trend for Whitchurch according to the town’s business chamber.

Handwritten signs placed outside Poundstretcher’s shop in High Street this week says the branch will close on August 28.

The discount retailer has occupied the site of the former Woolworths since the latter went out of business in 2009.

But the company has struggled throughout the pandemic, alongside many other mid-sized businesses, and it has been looking for ways to restructure as pressure mounted.

Sharron Marriott, who runs Make Your House a Home in the Watergate Arcade and is a member of Whitchurch Chamber of Trade said an increasing number of large retail units are being left unfilled in the town.

“Since opening my own shop in Whitchurch three years ago both, Argos and M&Co Homeware stores have closed in the town centre and remain empty,” said Sharon.

“Both these large stores are difficult to fill as rates are high. This is very sad for the town as empty shop make a town look unloved and now we will be left with three large stores to fill.

“Going forward more interaction between landlords, the local council and chamber of trade would be extremely beneficial to try to make premises work for potential new, and potentially smaller, businesses that may wish to come to Whitchurch.”

Sharron has praised the independent community in Whitchurch though, with smaller businesses thriving compared to their larger rivals.

She has also recently helped launch a ‘Welcome Back to Whitchurch’ brochure to promote local businesses as the town emerges from lockdown.

She said: “There is an excellent shop local attitude in Whitchurch.

“We run shop local campaigns and hope to build on this with a regular shop local/shop safe magazine.”

Whitchurch Mayor Bev Duffy also said she was glad to see the resurgence of the High Street after lockdown.

“Some companies have found it more challenging during the pandemic and Whitchurch Town Council are sorry to see Poundstretcher’s leaving the High Street with the loss of local jobs,” said cllr Duffy.

“It is very encouraging to see that there is still confidence in the town as the majority of local businesses have re-opened after lockdown.

“Whitchurch town centre is bucking the trend and the majority of our fantastic chain and independent retailers and cafes are open after lockdown.

“Whitchurch Town Council wishes all our local businesses well.”

Poundstretcher has been approached by the Whitchurch Herald for comment.