The Marlborough branch of a fashion shop closed on Saturday, as retailer Rowlands Clothing called in administrators.

The shop at 7 High Street, which catered for older women, put up sale signs last week, offering all stock at half price.

But staff told employees at neighbouring Viyella that it was just to clear old stock ready for spring and summer fashions.

It is understood the staff of about six, mainly part-timers, were told on Friday afternoon that the shop would not be opening the following day.

Bridget Bird, the manager at Viyella, said: “It is very sad. I have been here for ten years and they were open before that. Generally, business in Marlbor-ough is good at the moment. We seem to be bucking the trend.”

On Saturday, celebrity cook Mary Berry popped in to the Viyella shop for a browse.

Mrs Bird said: “She has bought things from us in the past. She is always very pleasant and knows what she likes.”

TV presenter Claire Balding also visited the shop last week.

Marlborough Chamber of Commerce president Alex Minoudis said: “We’re very sorry to lose this independent and long-established ladies fashion shop.

"Rowland’s has played an important part of Marlborough’s retail mix for many years and, like us, its loyal customers will be sad to see it go.”

It is believed that, following changes to stock at Rowlands brought in two years ago, when the firm was bought by Rosemex Trading, some regular customers started to go elsewhere.

A year ago, the firm produced its first in-house designed collection, after appointing Annabelle Hartley as head of design. At the same time, it stopped stocking some brands.

Rowlands was saved by the private equity firm in February 2012. This week, insolvency firm KCBS, which confirmed it was acting as administrator, was clearing out the headquarters in Southwick, near Trowbridge.