A MAJOR toy chain has announced it is closing one of its town centre branches leaving local residents devastated.
The Entertainer store in Bishops Weald House, off Worthing Road in Horsham, is expected to close early next year.
The toy shop has been a key element of Horsham town centre for many years.
The closest Entertainer stores for local residents are now Crawley & Haywards Heath.
The sad news was confirmed on Facebook by the Visit Horsham group.
In a post, group members said: “We are sad to confirm that the Entertainer Horsham is closing down.”
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Shoppers were horrified upon hearing the news and many flocked to to share their concerns.
One user claimed: “Oh no! That’s the best toy shop around. My son will be sad.”
“This must be a joke? Horsham’s losing all the good shops,” said another.
A third user argued: “High Street is doomed if even toy shops can’t cope.”
“Gosh, I’ve spent many a year buying toys in there. What a loss,” said someone else.
Another user warned: “Oh no! That’s such a shame Horsham is turning into a ghost town.”
One original staff member was left overwhelmed when reading the comments online, saying it had been a privilege to serve the community.
She said: “Thank you for all your lovely comments. As an original member of staff, speaking for all of our team, it has been a privilege to watch everyone’s children grow up and have our regular customers share their stories and achievements with us over the past 13 years.
“We will be open and trading until some point early in the new year.”
Confirming the closure to The Sun, Nick Hargreaves, chief operations officer at The Entertainer, said: “It’s no secret that shopping habits have changed in recent times and it is with great sadness that we have to announce the closure of our Horsham shop, which has been part of the local community for many years.
“We would like to thank our staff for their incredible service through the years and of course our customers for their loyalty.
“We’re working closely with our Horsham store team to look at opportunities for them elsewhere in the business.
“The Entertainer has two stores relatively close to Horsham for local shoppers; Crawley & Haywards Heath. The teams in both those stores will be delighted to welcome new faces. Customers can also continue to shop online.
“Our mission is simple: to become the best-loved toyshop – one child, one community at a time and we’re very proud of the contribution that our Horsham store made in fulfilling that ambition for over a decade.”
It’s not just toy stores that have been hit hard, many high street retailers have been struggling to get buy over the past few years, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Energy costs have risen and more shoppers than ever are choosing to order online rather than head into stores.
This has left some retailers grappling with budgets and have no choice but to close stores to cut costs.
Boots revealed it would be closing 300 stores over the next year as part of plans to evolve its brand.