We all need to rally to Swindon town centre and use its shops if we want them to stay.

That was the message from the borough council and the town’s business boosters following Wednesday night’s announcement that five more high-profile fashion outlets are to shut.

There was also recognition that, in the long term, the nature of the town centre would need to change from simply being a a shopping destination.

With the town already reeling after the decision to close the Honda plant in two years’ time, Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group said it will be shutting shops all around the country. The five in Swindon due to close are Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge, Burton, Wallis and Evans.

The town’s branches of Topshop and Topman will stay, although others elsewhere are also earmarked for closure.

Di Powell, the chief executive of inSwindon BID, said shops are suffering as a result of the growth of online trade, and new ideas are needed.

“We recognise the changing retail landscape and that more people shop online,” she said. “So it’s through town centre initiatives, such as our events, free parking on Sundays and our general campaign of raising the profile of Swindon, that we hope to encourage people to support their town centre and shop local.

“We are deeply saddened at the news that yet further Swindon high-street retailers are said to be closing following the latest announcement by Arcadia Group. The closure of the Swindon stores mentioned in the news announcement could have a detrimental impact on our high street and its workers. We will work with our retailers to provide support through an uncertain time.”

Ms Powell expressed hope that the decision could be reversed, as was the case with the town’s Debenhams and House of Fraser branches.

She added: “Although it was announced a few months ago that Debenhams had fallen into the hands of lenders, the Swindon store is still trading as usual, and we hope this decision by Arcadia Group may be overturned as the company voluntary arrangement continues to work through their proposals.”

The difficulties of high streets are not unique to Swindon and the borough council’s cabinet member for the town centre, Dale Heenan, said the authority was trying to help reshape the area.

He said:“This latest news brings into focus all that we have been saying around the need for town centres to change and adapt.

“We must continue to develop a bold vision for the high street based on more locally-led strategies that can be developed with our local communities. The way forward, if our town centres are to survive, is to introduce policies that are reflective of evolving commercial and economic patterns. We know that online shopping has done much to change the way some retailers work and barely a week goes past without a national name needing help to stop going into bankruptcy or closing down entirely.

“In April, it was Select, May it’s the Arcadia group who own Top Man, Burton and Dorothy Perkins. In January, it was GBK, this week its Jamie Oliver.

Coun Heenan added: “Swindon has the same traditional struggles as towns up and down the country but we are lucky to have the outlet centre, which remains as popular as ever with over 100 retailers. Old Town is doing well with its greater focus on independent shops and a popular café and social scene.

“We finally have momentum on exciting projects that will make a difference for the centre. Construction starts later this year on the ski slope and the new Zurich offices.

“ I would like to reassure local residents that the council is providing all the support it can to landlords and shops, including the recent introduction of free Sunday parking. It is a common myth I hear often that the council sets a shop or restaurants rent, business rates or any other costs. It does not. However, I would call on the government to look closely at reforming key policies that affect the high street such as the options for an online sales tax and reforms to business rates, to allow high streets to compete with the big name online retailers.

“Rest assured, we are pushing ahead with the more exciting plans for the Heritage Action Zone and the redevelopment of the Wyvern site to create an ambitious cultural quarter and I will again be lobbying our MPs and the Government about our £15m bid to the Future of the High Street fund.”

Labour’s Jane Milner-Barry was until recently the group’s spokesman on the town centre, she said: “This is very bad news – I feel very sorry for all the staff affected and their families.

“It looks like Swindon’s been singled out – Arcadia has hundreds of shops and is closing 23 and five of those are in Swindon.

“It’s undeniable that town centres need to change, people just don’t use them as they did – they don’t go out for a day’s shopping like they used to.

“We need to help the centre change, to have more people living there, which would change the shops and they’d stay open later, and they’d cater more for residents.

“We could try and make the centre more attractive as a place to visit with more trees, perhaps, and children’s playgrounds,

“Things like the Carriage Works development will help as well, with more young people spending time in the town centre.”