STAFF and shoppers have bid a final farewell to the Wilko store in Stroud after closing its shutters for the last time.

The much-loved shop in Five Valleys Shopping Centre had its final day of trade yesterday, Sunday, September 24.

A message has been posted outside reading: “This store is now closed. 

"The management and staff thank you for your custom.”

Stroud News and Journal: Newsquest

Stroud News and Journal: Newsquest

Stroud News and Journal: Newsquest

The town's branch of the store is part of the final batch of stores that have now closed or are closing.

So far, more than 400 branches of Wilko have closed nationwide. 

The hardware and furnishings retailer tumbled into administration last month after it came under pressure from weak consumer spending and debts to suppliers.

Earlier this month, administrators confirmed rival discount chain The Range has snapped up Wilko’s brand, website and intellectual property.

Wilko was originally founded by James Kemsey Wilkinson in Leicester in 1930 and employed 12,500 workers before its collapse.

Tony Davey, chair of Stroud Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement last month: "Our thoughts are with the staff and families of those who work for Wilko.

"The path to this point has been long and damaging for the firm.

"In Stroud, I believe the lack of stock availability, reduced ranges and lack of investment has already damaged the branch for well in excess of a year, largely stripping it of the ‘anchor store’ status it obtained upon the closure of Poundland, it seems this baton has passed to Home Bargains.

"Industry experts suggest £70m would be needed to recover the business, so it is far more likely that any buyer would significantly reduce the size of the Wilko estate - closing more stores where profitability levels make them unattractive.

"Wilko premises look set to be one of a now long line of gravestones of the national retailers across the country, where they have been unable to adjust their business model to succeed in the evolving town centre scene.

"Be under no illusion, though, that our town centres are not dying but are evolving.

"The rate and direction of travel of that evolution is in the hands of our local communities and how they continue to use the many and valuable businesses that remain there."