ONE of the town centre’s best loved clothing outlets has shut up shop for the final time.
The Next store in Regent Street – known as Branch 851 – held its last trading day on Saturday after a final day of packing up and clearing out on Sunday.
The store was forced to close after the British company decided the branch was economically unviable, and all the staff will be transferred to other larger stores around the town.
Shahima Begum, a full-time sales assistant at the store, said she was sad the store was closing but looking forward to new opportunities.
The 21-year-old, from Liden, said: “The store has been here for over 20 years and it’s sad that we’re going.
“We’ve all been split up and transferred to other stores. We’re quite a small store so we haven’t a lot of staff to move.
“There are 13 staff members at the store and that includes managers, sales assistants, the admin team and the deliveries team.
“Because we’re such a small team we’re all really really close, we’re a bit like a family. We just support each other with anything, if there is ever a problem you know you can rely on anyone else to help you.
“Even the people who haven’t even worked here a year are close.
“We all go out together every now and again and I’ll definitely keep in touch. We’ve already made plans to meet up in a few weeks’ time.
“For a lot of us it’s our first job as well so it’s a bit nerve-wracking to be going somewhere else.”
Shahima’s new role will involve working in the company’s home products range.
She said: “We’re all happy that we’ve kept our jobs obviously but we’re all nervous about moving somewhere new. Its going to be different being part of a new team.
“For me I’m going from clothing to home items so it’s going to be different but I’m definitely excited about the new challenge.
“It’s also sad to say goodbye to all our loyal customers we see all the time, I know some of them are sad to see us go as well.”
In a statement, store manager Edyta Sieja said on behalf of the team: “After being in Swindon High Street for over 20 years Next branch 851 is finally closing its doors for the last time and store manager Edyta and the amazing team would like to thank all of our loyal customers for supporting us over the years.
“Being the smallest store in Swindon we have always achieved and exceeded excellent customer service, providing our customers with a warm, friendly and welcoming environment. So from all the staff at Next branch 851 we say a big thank you and goodbye.”
Next currently has a Next at Home store at Mannington, a store at Greenbridge and one at the Orbital.