Closure of Next will ‘play part in turning Ashford into ghost town’
Shoppers had their last chance to bag a bargain as fashion store Next shut its doors for the final time.
Saturday was the last day of trading at the branch in the Ashford Designer Outlet, Kimberley Way, after the company announced it was pulling out due to a huge rent increase.
The announcement was met with dismay from some of the store’s many fans with one customer, who asked not to be named, suggesting the closure would play a part in turning 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.”
The woman even emailed the retailer’s chief executive, Simon Wolfson, to complain, receiving a reply that the rent rise had forced the decision.
He said: “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.”
It’s understood that an initial annual rent of £17,000, had risen to £34,000, with an increase to £51,000 proposed, although this is yet to be confirmed.
A spokesman for McArthurGlen said it would be working with the retail giant to help staff find new roles.
Next store at Ashford Designer Outlet closed its doors for the last time on Saturday