Next out­let store to shut

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page - by Sam Wil­liams saw­illiams@thek­m­group.co.uk @samWil­liamsKM

A pop­u­lar fash­ion store in Ash­ford is set to close this month af­ter fac­ing a huge rise in rent.

Next at the Ash­ford De­signer Out­let, in Kim­ber­ley Way, will shut on Satur­day, Fe­bru­ary 13.

A spokesman for the chain con­firmed the news this week and said that they are in the process of of­fer­ing “all staff cur­rently em­ployed at this store the op­por­tu­nity to take up a role in one of our other nearby stores”.

The an­nounce­ment has left some shop­pers dis­ap­pointed, with one loyal cus­tomer sug­gest­ing the move will sadly help turn Ash­ford into a “ghost town”.

She said: “It’s dis­grace­ful. This shop is al­ways busy, and turns over a profit. Peo­ple come to the de­signer out­let from all over the coun­try. More im­por­tantly there will be 40 peo­ple look­ing for work on Fe­bru­ary 13 if they can’t be re­lo­cated, and yet again Ash­ford will have an­other empty unit.”

Ex­press­ing her con­cerns, the woman, who asked to re­main anony­mous, emailed the retail gi­ant’s chief ex­ec­u­tive Si­mon Wolf­son.

In her let­ter she said she would be sad to see the shop go and added that the lo­ca­tion and easy park­ing make it a more prefer­able choice than vis­it­ing Ash­ford’s other Next, in the County Square shop­ping cen­tre.

In his re­ply, Mr Wolf­son said the rea­son for the clo­sure is due to the high in­crease in rent.

He said: “I am very sorry that the clo­sure of our out­let store in Ash­ford is dis­ap­point­ing for you and I apol­o­gise that our de­ci­sion will in­con­ve­nience you.

“Un­for­tu­nately the de­ci­sion was pre­cip­i­tated by a dra­matic and in­ex­pli­ca­ble in­crease in the rent and charges on our shop, which meant it was no longer eco­nomic for us to con­tinue to trade in this lo­ca­tion.

“I re­alise that this ex­pla­na­tion is dis­ap­point­ing but hope at least it goes some way to help you un­der­stand what must (from the out­side) ap­pear an un­usual de­ci­sion.”

It is un­der­stood that Next were pay­ing £17,000 an­nu­ally for their unit. How­ever this was put up to £34,000 and then pro­posed to in­crease again to £51,000. This has not been con­firmed how­ever.

What do you think? Write to Ken­tish Ex­press, 34-36 North Street, Ash­ford, TN24 8JR or email ken­tish­ex­press@thek­m­group.co.uk

‘Un­for­tu­nately the de­ci­sion was pre­cip­i­tated by a dra­matic and in­ex­pli­ca­ble in­crease in the rent’

– Next boss Si­mon Wolf­son

FM3382838

Next is clos­ing its Ash­ford De­signer Out­let store

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