Blow to town as 'big national chain' pulls out of opening new store
PUBLISHED: 15:17 15 June 2019 | UPDATED: 15:24 15 June 2019
A national chain has pulled out of opening a new store, serving as the latest blow to a town's high street.
With its closure announced earlier this year, Kerrys Home Furnishings in Lowestoft was set to be replaced by a "big national chain".
Mattressman, which owned Kerrys and shared the premises on Suffolk Road, was due to relocate to the first floor of the building to make way for the mystery retailer on the ground floor.
But Andrew Kerry - who owns the Mattressman franchise - has revealed that, despite initially agreeing to open a new store, The Original Factory Shop later decided against the move.
"We planned to get the Factory Shop into the store, but unfortunately they changed their minds which was a real shame," said Mr Kerry.
"It would have made a lovely addition to Lowestoft and we felt it was an ideal opportunity for them.
"They were very interested but pulled out at the last minute so we are just trading on the ground floor as Mattressman."
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With the Factory Shop no longer set to arrive, the decision has also been taken to close the tea room on the building's top floor.
"We'd decided to keep it open because we were anticipating the Factory Shop's arrival," added Mr Kerry. "But the way things are laid out now, customers would've had to take an elevator from the ground floor up to the tea room.
"It's really unfortunate and we'd like to thank all the tea room's loyal customers."
News of Kerrys' closure was the latest in a long line of setbacks for the town, with Coes announcing a week prior that its Lowestoft shop would shut after 50 years.
Claire's, The Body Shop and Beales also departed, prompting Waveney MP Peter Aldous to highlight the decline of the nation's high streets in parliament.
As for whether an alternative 'big name' might take the Factory Shop's place, Mr Kerry said it was important to "keep our options open".
"Retail is quite a struggle at the moment," he added. "You only need to look at the recent news about Boots to see that.
"Companies are a little bit hesitant and I would say political uncertainty is one of the main reasons."
The Original Factory Shop has not responded to a request for comment.