Discount chain to close another store, adding to high street woes


Another blow to the high street

The Original Factory Shop, a discount department store chain with 200 stores, is set to close yet another branch. The Milford store in Surrey will be shuttered, following several closures last year. The discounter sells a range of bargain items from homeware to stationery and has been running since 1969. It currently has around 190 stores across the UK.

History of the store

The Milford branch first opened its doors in June 2010 and is located in the building that was originally occupied by Woolworths. However, after 13 years, the store will be closing its doors for good. Other branches in Haverfordwest and Fishguard will remain open.

Disappointment among locals

Locals have expressed their disappointment on social media, with one person saying, "So sad to read. I go in there regularly and the staff are fantastic." Another added, "Another nail in the coffin for Charles Street."

TOFS spokesperson statement

A spokesperson for The Original Factory Shop said, "We regularly review the stores across our estate and unfortunately have taken the decision to close our Milford Haven store. We are consulting with colleagues at the store and working hard to support all of those affected. We'd like to thank all our customers for their support and look forward to welcoming them at any of our other two stores, which are both located within 20 miles."

Troubles for the high street

This closure comes during a tumultuous period for businesses, as they struggle to bounce back after the impact of Covid, combined with rising energy bills. Food and pub chains, such as Wetherspoons and Frankie & Benny's, have also been shutting doors at several locations across the country. Additionally, the shift to online shopping and the rising cost of non-essentials have led to a decline in footfall for brick and mortar stores.

Other closures in the retail sector

It's not just The Original Factory Shop that is facing challenges. Homebase closed a store last year, leaving it with only 93 remaining since its takeover in 2018. Poundstretcher closed multiple stores but also opened new ones in closed Wilko stores. Even charity shops are struggling, with Oxfam confirming the closure of eight UK stores last year. Boots has plans to close 300 stores over the next year, and Superdry is considering a "radical" restructuring after poor Christmas sales. Furthermore, a major fast-food outlet is permanently closing one of its branches, and a bargain retailer has confirmed the closure of sites in Stockton-on-Tees next month.