LAKELAND in Commercial Street in Hereford is closing next month.

The shop, which sells kitchenware, bakeware, homeware and electricals, opened in the city in 2011.

It is not good news for that area of the city as it is the second big chain to close a store in the street within eight months.

Starbucks closed last October and the unit has since remained vacant.

Lakeland initially told the Hereford Times that the "closure follows unsuccessful attempts to renegotiate a new rental deal that would secure a profitable, sustainable future for the store."

Lakeland has today (April 17) clarified what the spokeswoman meant by this. 

Tony Preedy, director of marketing and international development at Lakeland, said: “The reason that the store is closing is not due to the landlord – it is due to the store no longer being viable. 

“We were negotiating with the landlord, Mark Ellis, on rent and other things. We thought we had found common ground in principle. We then conducted an evaluation of that store, bearing in mind footfall has been falling. 

“When we predicted that forward to the return on investment on maintaining that store, in the end we decided that even with the offer on the table from Mark, the store would not be profitable. 

“There was nothing Mark could do to persuade us to keep the store open.”

He said it is only fair to acknowledge that Mark and his company tried very hard to retain their business.

Tony added: “That part of Hereford just isn’t busy enough to sustain a Lakeland store.”

Closure is expected in early May. 

Mark Ellis, of Ellis Properties, said: “I was extremely disappointed to hear that Lakeland were due to close the Hereford store. I had done everything I could to keep them in occupation including a large rent reduction offer, all to no avail as their decision to close was final. I converted the store for Lakeland in 2011 and had hoped that Hereford would have been a successful city for their retail offering, unfortunately this has not proved to be so.”

In May Herefordshire Council will start the second phase of work in Commercial Street to upgrade Hereford city centre. The street will be refurbished and will look similar to the work carried out in Widemarsh Street and High Street.

Planning approval has been given for 17 flats on the first and second floors of the former Chadds department store on the McDonald's side of the street.