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Clothing store to close

PUBLISHED: 13:17 25 June 2008 | UPDATED: 10:22 07 July 2010

ALDISS clothing store in Fakenham Market Place is to close.

Aldiss, which has traded for generations, on Tuesday announced it is to shut the menswear and women's fashion store in Fakenham Market Place in August to allow the company to focus on its core home furnishing superstore business on the edge of the town centre.

ALDISS clothing store in Fakenham Market Place is to close.

Aldiss, which has traded for generations, on Tuesday announced it is to shut the menswear and women's fashion store in Fakenham Market Place in August to allow the company to focus on its core home furnishing superstore business on the edge of the town centre.

It signals the end of a retail era for the town because in its 80 years at the market place location several generations of north Norfolk families have shopped there for winter and summer clothing and school uniforms.

Fakenham mayor Jayne Cubitt's immediate reaction when told the news was one of shock.

“Closure of the Aldiss clothing store will leave a huge hole in the market place and it will be sadly missed by Fakenham,” she said.

Staff at both the fashion store and the home furnishing complex were told of the closure during Tuesday before the news was released to the media.

There are 17 people working at the fashion store and as many as possible will be be offered jobs in the Fakenham home furnishing superstore.

It was too early to say exactly how many of the staff will take up the chance to transfer because the company had only just started its consultation process.

The closure means that the extensive three-storey premises with its distinctive frontage will be another empty property in the heart of Fakenham. There are four empty shop premises around the market place.

Announcing the closure, Aldiss managing director Paul Clifford, left, said it was a difficult decision to cease any activity, not least when it affected customers and work colleagues.

“However, this is an evolutionary change that is necessary for the future expansion of our business.”

Mr Clifford described the closure decision as a “natural one” in terms of the company's progression.

He revealed that the company's home furnishing business had seen enormous growth, up to more than 28pc in the last two years, and has created the formula for all future developments.

Mr Clifford said: “Fashion, which represents less than 5pc of our sales, sadly, has no logical fit alongside home furnishings as we seek to expand the group.

“Large format stores such as our superstores in Fakenham and Norwich will only be available out of town and any properties will carry with them restrictive retail use, which nearly always precludes fashion.”

Aldiss has traded in Fakenham since 1892.

Chairman, Tim Aldiss, pictured above, said that during his 54 years in the business he had seen and had made enormous change. “We have invested several million pounds over recent years to create lifestyle superstores catering for everything in your home, introduced new suppliers to the region and improving our product range and store layouts”.

Mr Aldiss said the closure decision had been taken by the board and the family expressed thanks to staff and customers for their loyal support over the years.

The Aldiss family will continue to own the department store property and have no intention of selling it.

He said any future use of the property would have Fakenham's interests at heart.

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