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'Looks like a ghost town' say shoppers as bargain chain to shut stores in weeks

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SHOPPERS have been left fearing a “ghost town” as a retailer gears up to close one of its branches.

The Works is pulling down the shutters on its store in Fforestfach Retail Park, Swansea, in a matter of weeks.

The Works is pulling down a branch in Swansea in a blow for locals

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The Works is pulling down a branch in Swansea in a blow for localsCredit: Alamy

The discount retailer, which sells everything from arts and crafts to gifts, toys and stationery will close the branch on April 20.

It comes after the chain confirmed it would shut another branch in Penrith in mid-April.

A spokesperson confirmed the Swansea closure to The Sun, adding: “This has been a great location for The Works but sadly we have been unable to agree suitable lease terms to stay.

“We apologise for any inconvenience caused by this closure and would like to thank customers for shopping at the store over the years.”

Read more in Store Closures

All staff at the branch will be redeployed to nearby stores.

Customers next nearest branch is in The Quadrat Shopping Centre in Swansea.

The spokesperson added: “We constantly review our property portfolio to ensure we have the right mix of stores in the right locations to best serve our customers.

“This occasionally means closing stores, whilst also improving our stores with refits or relocations if a more favourable site becomes available.

“We’re always on the lookout for new locations too and have a handful of new openings planned in the coming months.”

Locals and shoppers who have just found out the store is closing have been left gutted, with some fearing the Fforestfach Retail Park will become desolate.

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One said: “Looks like a ghost town. So sad because it used to have great shops.”

A second said: “So sad to see these closures! Once M&S and Next went the place was never the same!”

A third added: “This was the best place to go back in the day…”

Meanwhile, a fourth simply commented: “Another shop bites the dust!”

It comes after The Works confirmed to The Sun its branch in Penrith will close in mid-April.

Shoppers reacted with equal devastation following the news the branch will shut.

One said: “One step nearer to a ghost town,” while a second added: “This is getting ridiculous.”

The Works also shut its store in Hitchin last August, after closing its branch in Coulby Newham the month before.

Plus, it has recently closed stores in Bridgend and Croydon as part on an “ongoing management” of its portfolio.

But it has also opened branches as part of the move, including in Wolverhampton, Llanelli, Grimsby and Crewe.

Last August, the chain confirmed plans to open eight shops and has plans to open more in the coming months.

It comes amid a torrid time for the high street as a number of retailers close branches across the UK.

The Centre for Retail Research said over 10,000 shops shut their doors for the final time in 2023, with almost 120,000 jobs lost.

Chains have been shuttering stores due to a number of factors including high energy and wage costs, inflation and shoppers increasingly turning to online retail.

It has seen major names such as Wilko, Paperchase and The Body Shop crash into administration since last year.

In June last year, Boots said it would massively consolidate its portfolio of 2,200 stores to 1,900.

However the pharmacy chain said it would shut stores where there was another one nearby.

But, like with The Works, it’s not all bad news as some are opening branches as well.

Asda is massively expanding its portfolio of smaller Express stores.

Primark also recently confirmed plans to open new branches and invest and renovate more than a dozen of its existing shops.

Meanwhile, Wilko has made a comeback on the high street, opening stores in Plymouth, Luton and Exeter before the end of last year.

And in January, discounter chain B&M said it had plans to open 17 new sites in 2024.

The Works was established in 1981 and currently runs 525 stores across the UK.

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