TWO major high street names shut up shop in Rugby this week.
Saturday saw the closure of Dorothy Perkins in the High Street, while La Senza shut suddenly in the Clock Towers on Monday.
They follow the closure of Past Times, after the firm went into administration. Doubt is also hanging over Millets, part of the Blacks Leisure group which has been bought out by JD Sports.
Tony Spencer, centre manager at the Clock Towers, said he didn’t realise how quickly La Senza would close after the underwear chain went into administration just before Christmas.
Mr Spencer said: “It’s disappointing. The store was profitable but as a business there is obviously something wrong. As a tenant they were working really well with us.”
A member of staff said eight people had lost their jobs. They were told the shop would close just hours before it was due to open as usual on Monday.
He also said he didn’t know about the future of the Millets store - the fate of which is now being decided by its new owners.
He added: “There’s all sorts of speculation. It’s difficult times at the moment throughout the industry. Everyone needs to think about shopping local.
We all buy things on the internet, not realising how much damage it is doing to our towns.”
Mr Spencer also revealed that another long- term lease is about to be signed in the centre, but would not say which company.
In the High Street Robin Richter, managing director of Rugby First, said that losing Dorothy Perkins was a blow.
He said: “Of course it’s a loss but this is happening everywhere in the UK, except in very big cities. National retailers are moving out of town centres and sticking with the big cities or moving out of town.”
In November last year Arcadia boss Philip Green announced plans to close up to 260 stores in the next few years. This puts some Topshop, Wallis and Burton shops at risk, although nothing has yet been confirmed either way.
Mr Richter said that Rugby has a shop vacancy rate of six per cent, compared to nearby cities Coventry and Wolverhampton where a quarter of units are standing empty.
He said: “We have a policy now to replace the smaller units with independents. That’s our future.”
Mr Richter said that with internet shopping on the rise, “major changes” need to be made.
He said: “We’ve got a nice environment in Rugby which is clean, safe and friendly.
“Good quality independents and cafes are the way forward for us.”