Thursday, 16 September 2010
So farewell, then, Next Farnham
Clearly Farnham is not a major "shopping destination", I won't pretend as much, however residents of surrounding villages face a choice between a short journey into Farnham or a longer journey to - most likely - Guildford, and I feel shops like Next swing the balance towards the local choice.
A spokesperson from Next confirmed this morning that the shop had closed for good, citing "the end of our lease over the premises".
As can be seen from the photograph I took this morning, the store is still advertised as "To Let", indicating perhaps there are other reasons why Next are leaving town.
I'm worried that continued uncertainty over the future of the town centre, namely the stalled plans to redevelop East Street, are reducing the appeal of Farnham for retailers.
Next were quick to point towards the opening of a major new store in Bracknell. I can see how a PR professional may be keen to quell any question of the chain downsizing and the Next press office in Leicester can perhaps be forgiven for being unaware that residents of Farnham are unlikely to make a 40-mile round trip to Bracknell, what with a substantial Next store only 7 miles away in Farnborough Gate and another 10 miles away in Guildford.
On the plus side, Next confirmed no staff had lost their jobs with the store closure as all had relocated to other stores.