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Concern for town centre retail as Lakeland closes in Windsor Yards

Windsor’s town centre manager has called on residents to ‘shop local’ as Lakeland prepares to become the latest store to leave the town.

The kitchenware store, which has been in Windsor Yards for 14 years, has announced it will close its doors tomorrow (Saturday).

It is the latest in a number of chains to move its business out of the town centre in recent years.

They include jewellery shop Links of London, which closed its branch in Windsor Royal Station in November after the company went into administration.

The department store Fenwick, located next to Lakeland, closed in 2017 after 37 years in the town due to the pressure of online shopping, while clothes shop Next left in 2018.

Paul Roach, town manager for Windsor, Eton and Ascot, said: “Windsor is unique as it is very small in terms of the number of residents who live in the town centre.

“We need to give them an incentive to come to Windsor. People need to shop local.

“There is a concern, not just in Windsor but across the whole country.”

Mr Roach said 2019 was the worst year on record for retail nationally, with total sales dec-reasing by 0.1 per cent, according to the Retail Sales Monitor from the British Retail Consortium and KPMG International Cooperative.

The rise in people shopping online represents a ‘challenging trend for retail’.

“People need to change how they shop,” he said.

But the situation is ‘not all doom and gloom’, he added, as new stores, such as The White Company in Windsor Yards, have set up in town.

The Royal Borough is hosting regular meetings and events to help encourage people to visit the town centre.

There is also a scheme where business rates on a property which has been empty for 12 months can be significantly reduced, but ‘this is not enough to sustain a whole town centre’, according to Mr Roach.

Robert Gramson, centre manager at Windsor Yards, thanked Lakeland’s ‘hardworking and dedicated team members for providing customers with exemplary service’ and he wished them well for the future.

He said: “We are now exploring potential options for the unit and further announcements will be made in due course.”

A Lakeland spokesperson added: “We are very proud of our store team, who have worked exceptionally hard to deliver a wonderful store environment for our customers, and we will be working closely with our colleagues to support them at this difficult time.”

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