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Clothing giant shuts two stores
12:00pm Tuesday 24th December 2013 in Echo News
CLOTHING giant H&M has shut two of its Southend branches as it scales back its presence in the town.
The fashion chain has shut the branch at the top of the High Street and its shop in the Royals shopping centre.
It still has a store in the former Woolworths shop, also in the High Street, which opened last year, but concerns have been raised about the two highprofile empty stores left behind.
H&M has not said how many staff, if any, would be made redundant by the closures.
A spokesman for the chain said: “The decision to close the two existing stores has been taken as part of our wider strategy and prior to the opening of H&M, at 29-35 High Street, Southend, last year.”
H&M signed a 15-year lease on its remaining store in 2012, at a cost of about £175,000 a year.
When announcing the opening of the 2,352 sq m premises, a spokesman said they had no plans to close either of the older stores.
Denis Baldry, director of the Southend Business Improvement District, said the loss of the stores was a blow.
He said: “It is a shame to lose any store from the High Street.
It is not good to see any store closing or any premises empty.
“But I would be hopeful both stores would be filled soon and we can bring new businesses to the High Street.”
The Royals is currently up for sale, so the closure of H&M adds more uncertainty to its future.
A spokesman for the shopping centre said: “We very much enjoyed having it within the centre and look forward to being able to announce a new retailer in due course.”
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