TOWN’S OLDEST HIGH STREET SHOP TO CLOSE
BURTON SHUTTING AFTER 80 YEARS
Ashford’s longest-established high street shop is to close its doors for the last time.
Men’s clothing retailer Burton has announced it will not be renewing its lease and will leave the town after 84 years.
The company is part of the Arcadia Group, which also owns Dorothy Perkins, Top Shop and Miss Selfridge.
An Arcadia spokesman confirmed the store would close on Thursday, June 16, and said the company would try to move staff to other outlets.
He said: “We are constantly reviewing our store portfolio across the group, and leases continually expire or come up for renewal.
“We are always looking at how to shape our store portfolio, investing in flagship stores and increasing our brands’ presence online.
“Our click and collect service across the brands is also proving a successful way of helping our customers collect their purchases at a location most convenient to them.
“When leases expire that we do not renew, we endeavour to redeploy staff affected to another store within the Arcadia Group as much as we can.”
Burton first opened in Ashford in 1932, known then as Montague Burton, in the purpose-built town centre unit.
Local historian Steve Salter said: “At the time, it was deemed one of the most architecturally futuristic and modern buildings in the town.
“Its upper elevation was glazed with a geometric pattern over the windows. This typical styling of the 1920s didn’t reach Ashford until 10 years later.
“Burton’s has ridden out many a recessional storm which has seen tailoring names like Hepworths and John Collier bite the dust.
“For many years the Pruden- tial Assurance Company occupied the upper floor, until the early 1980s.
“Montague Burton’s Ashford premises had previously been occupied by Ashford draper Hugh Bevan and was extensively remodelled to become Montague Burton.
“In recent times, the once smart building has become unsightly and poorly maintained.”
Ashford borough councillor Graham Galpin, portfolio holder for the town centre, said: “It is a shame but we know the complexion of the high street is changing.
“Those we thought were going to stay there forever are not going to.
“We will work with the people involved and try and help them in any way we can.
“We will also try and encourage people to come to the town.”
The closure will not affect the Canterbury and Maidstone stores.
Customers can still shop online at www.burton.co.uk
‘Those we thought were going to stay there forever are not going to’
The Burton shop pictured in 1953, left, and 1960
The shop today, advertising its closing down sale
The Montague Burton foundation stone, laid in 1932; right, reproduced pages from 1930s Burton catalogues