THE future of a Worcester stationery store is looking bleak after three other stores in the same chain were shut.

Osborne Stationers has shut stores in Arnold and Sherwood, Nottinghamshire, and Solihull, Warwickshire, after going into administration.

The future of its store in Mealcheapen Street, Worcester, is still unknown but administrators say further closures are “inevitable.”

Osbornes, a high street chain founded nearly two centuries ago, has also sold two shops in Oadby, Leicestershire, and Newark, Nottinghamshire, to Paperweights Ltd and is in talks about the sale of another of its stores in Birmingham.

The Birmingham-based business employed 140 staff at the time directors called in administrators from restructuring firm FRP Advisory last month.

It has struggled to survive through tough trading conditions since the start of the downturn in 2008.

Steven Stokes, partner at FRP Advisory, said: "Unfortunately further closures are inevitable in the new year."

The firm, whose stores are mostly in the Midlands, was founded as a printing business in Birmingham city centre in 1832 by Edward Corn Osborne.

•There was also bad news from retail giant Debenhams after it warned of a 26 per cent profits plunge.

The chain blamed the situation on the lack of a hoped-for sales surge in the last week before Christmas.