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Town suffers fresh high street blow with shop closure

PUBLISHED: 08:25 28 June 2019 | UPDATED: 11:45 28 June 2019

McColl's convenience store on Mere STreet in Diss is to close. Picture: Simon Parkin

McColl's convenience store on Mere STreet in Diss is to close. Picture: Simon Parkin

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A Norfolk town has suffered another blow to its high street as convenience store retailer McColl's confirmed it is to close its shop.

McColl's convenience store on Mere STreet in Diss is to close. Picture: Simon ParkinMcColl's convenience store on Mere STreet in Diss is to close. Picture: Simon Parkin

The national chain said it had decided not to renew the lease on its premises on Mere Street in Diss. The store is one of the most well established on the town's main high street selling groceries, alcohol, lottery tickets and newspapers. It is one of the last remaining shops offering newspaper deliveries.

A McColl's spokesperson said: "Having explored all options, regretfully we have taken the difficult decision not to renew the lease at the McColl's store on Mere Street in Diss.

"We are saddened to no longer be operating the store in the future and our priority is to support all affected colleagues."

Staff at the shop declined to comment and the chain was unable to give a date when the shop would close its doors. McColl's also has branches in nearby Eye and Harleston.

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The closure is the latest to hit Diss as high street businesses continue to feel the pressure of online shopping and rising costs from rent and business rates.

Mere Moments café and tea room, close to McColl's on Mere Street, closed in March after 11 years, while last month Lizzie 2 Shoes, on St Nicholas Street, closed after its owner Lizzie Stimson said rising costs and online competition meant she was unable to make it pay.

Diss Town Council leader Simon Olander said they were currently working with Diss Town Team on innovative ways to reinvigorate the town centre but said it would not be an easy task to stave off further decline.

He said: "Diss Town Council is concerned to read of another shop closure within the town centre. We also appreciate residents' concerns and frustration by this news.

"These continuing shop closures in town centres across the country are an inevitable reaction to our ever changing shopping habits. Unfortunately we have no powers over private property rental charges or business rates charged by the district council but the town council would be keen to work with parties to find a solution to the current problem we find ourselves in."

Earlier this year McColl's reported a sharp drop in profits and said 2018 had been a "challenging" year after wholesalers Palmer & Harvey went into the administration forcing it to accelerate a new supply deal with Morrisons.

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