BURNLEY town centre has been dealt a blow with the news two major stores are to close – although an independent business has vowed to remain in the town.
Focus DIY, Blockbuster DVD hire shop and long-standing bookshop Badger Books will all close in the coming weeks.
However, Badger Books in Keirby Walk is hoping to relocate as the shop’s 25-year lease draws to an end.
The shop was originally Luptons, then Archway Books and for the last seven years Badger Books. It will shut on June 23rd following a closing down sale..
Owner Mr Gary Kingdon said: “I am in negotiations to relocate the business to a smaller, cheaper premises. The shop and name belong in Burnley and that is where we are looking.”
The closures of Focus and Blockbuster are symptoms of a wider national and international cull, as Focus recently went into administration while American company Blockbuster is under pressure due to the postage rental market. Blockbuster has been forced to close hundreds of stores in America, Canada and Britain.
A sign on the shop’s window in St James’s Row confirmed the closure and that the nearest alternative stores are in Padiham, Colne and Accrington.
Focus DIY went into administration on May 5th with Ernst and Young appointed as administrators. No buyer was found for the chain and all stores are being closed. The Burnley outlet in Calder Vale has been sold to B and M Bargains.
Mr Brian Hobbs, president of Burnley and District Chamber of Trade, said: “The closures of Focus and Blockbuster are not really reflections on Burnley as they are national and international issues. I’m surprised they’ve lasted so long to be honest. The influence of internet shopping is not helping high street shops.
“However, if Badger Books were to close and not find other premises that would be a blow. It has long been an independent, niche market and that is what we want to preserve. I really hope they can relocate.
“Regarding the Focus store, if B and M Bargains do take it over, I think that will bring more shoppers into Burnley.”