Gazette readers have reacted with dismay after a South Shields store confirmed it’s closing – just weeks after it was seemingly handed a reprieve.
Closing down signs have been put on the frontage of That’s Entertainment, in King Street, South Shields, for the second time in two months after the building landlord decided to terminate its agreement.
And many readers fear it is another nail in the coffin of a the town centre’s traditional shopping route, despite South Tyneside Council’s multimillion pound 365 regeneration project.
Commenting on the Gazette’s Facebook page, Nigel Martin stated: “At this rate shopping in King Street will be a thing of the past, no amount of regeneration is going to help.
Kerry Crawford added: “Something really needs to be done. I don’t even use King Street anymore – there nothing down there.”
Dawn Hibbert wrote: “It’s becoming a ghost town.”
Allan Fada posted: “It’s depressing to watch a once-thriving retail area slowly die.”
David Hall pointed out: “Sadly, it’s a sign of the times, shopping habits have changed towards online shopping, even the Metrocentre has empty units.”
Lynsey Simmons said: “I love South Shields, but King Street really lets it down.”
Stacey Pearson wrote: “Shields offers you nothing. They should have built something like the Bridges. If I go clothes shopping I go to Sunderland, Newcastle or MetroCentre!”
Darren Wilkey posted: “The 365 plan should have started with the Retail Element instead of the new library!”
Ian Ritchie said: “It’s just a sign of the times, technology moves on and so do purchase habits. Sad, but a fact.”
Nobody from South Tyneside Council was available for comment on readers’ concerns.
That’s Entertainment had originally been due to shut its doors in February, after failing to reach an agreement over its business lease, but bosses struck an 11th-hour deal in order to stay open.
Craig Dawson, head of retail at That’s Entertainment, said at the time: “After last-minute discussions following an approach from our landlord, we were delighted to reach a new agreement, which has enabled us to continue trading in South Shields.”
However, the joy for staff left fearing for their futures has proved short-lived, after business bosses announced plans to close again.
A spokesman for That’s Entertainment said: “The landlord has exercised their right to terminate the lease.”
The closure comes after Internacionale, the women’s clothing brand, shut up shop in June 2014, just months after one of the jewels of the town centre, Marks and Spencer, ended its presence in the borough.