‘Very worrying’ shoppers cry after major charity retailer with 700 stores closes ‘excellent’ branch

Shoppers have been left devastated after a major charity retailer with 750 stores downed the shutters of one of its branches.

British Heart Foundation welcomed customers to its store in Lowestoft, Suffolk for the final time on Saturday 1 June.

The British Heart Foundation has closed a branch in LowestoftCredit: Gary Stone – The Sun

The charity retailer said the branch was closed after its lease expired.

Gary Purser, regional manager of the British Heart Foundation, added: “We would like to thank our wonderful staff and volunteers for all their support over the years, some of which will move to other stores in the area.

“We would also like to thank our loyal and lovely customers in Lowestoft.

“They can still support the British Heart Foundation and visit our stores in Great Yarmouth and Norwich, or shop online at our BHF eBay store.”

Read more in Store Closings

Shoppers have shared their shock and sadness after discovering the branch, known as ‘excellent’ by locals on Google Reviews, has closed for good.

One said: “It is very worrying when charity shops are closing even on the high street.”

Another echoed this sentiment, adding: “Things are really bad with even charity shops closing.”

A third commented: “Another empty shop on that side of town.”

And a fourth said: “If it weren’t for shops like this, research into heart problems etc wouldn’t be able to be done.

“I am personally grateful for this store and everything they have done.”

Beloved bakery chain will permanently close all locations

It comes after a series of charity store closures in recent months, which has been a blow to the high street.

Oxfam downed the shutters of its facility in Telford, Wellington, last month.

The chain, which operates around 500 UK stores, said it had decided to close the store because it was not “viable”.

Since June last year, Oxfam has closed eight more stores in the UK, including in Alfreton, Worthing and Grimsby.

The Salvation Army was also forced to close a store in Bourne and another in Cornerswell Road, Penarth, while Cancer Research UK closed a branch earlier this year.

What else is happening on the shopping street?

The high street has been hit hard in recent years as shoppers turn to online stores, a trend exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Companies have also had to pay more in energy, wages and business rates.

It has led to some stores having to close permanently, which has been a blow to customers.

Some major retailers have fallen on hard times, including Ted Baker, Wilko and The Body Shop, forcing hundreds of stores to close and thousands of workers to lose their jobs.

It’s not all bad news for the sector, however, as some chains have expanded into high streets and retail parks.

Poundland, Lidl and Aldi have all opened branches in the UK as shoppers turn to more budget-friendly options.

Aldi said it wants to open hundreds more stores in the coming years and is targeting 1,500 stores.

Retailers will close stores in 2024

RETAILERS have been hit by rising inflation and a drop in spending due to the cost of living crisis.

High energy costs and the shift to online shopping are also taking their toll.

While some high street stores have closed as businesses have opened in different locations such as larger retail parks.

Shops can also close for a number of other reasons, such as rising rents.

We explain which retailers will close in 2024:

  • Argos – The brand announced plans to close 100 standalone stores in the UK last year as it looks to break away from the high street and focus on expanding its supermarket presence.
  • B&V – The chain has more than 300 stores across the United Kingdom, with two stores closing this year because leases are not renewed. It has plans to open more in 2024 as well.
  • Boots – The health and beauty chain announced last July that it would close 300 stores. The closures are ongoing and will reduce the retailer’s store count from 2,200 to 1,900 stores.
  • Clintons – Clintons late last year considered plans to close 38 stores in an effort to avoid bankruptcy. We have listed the affected stores.
  • Costa coffee – The caffeine giant has around 2,000 locations nationwide, so there’s a good chance there’s one near you. The chain recently closed the doors of dozens of locations. We’ve revealed which stores are closing this year.
  • Iceland – The supermarket has more than 900 stores, but closed almost twenty locations in 2023, and more select stores will close.
  • Lidl – The supermarket, which has 950 stores, is changing store locations, causing a number of stores to close. But the retailer also wants to open twelve new supermarkets.
  • MRS – M&S, which has 405 stores across the country, has closed a string of branches across the country in a blow to shoppers. But it’s not all bad news, because the chain also has big plans to open dozens of new stores.
  • Offence – The company announced in July last year that it would close six branches, but more are in the pipeline.
  • W.H.Smith – The retail giant, which operates more than 1,100 stores, has closed eight stores since March 2023, but more are on the way.

Health and beauty retailer Superdrug recently said it wants to open 25 new stores in the UK.

Asda has opened hundreds of convenience stores in recent months as it looks to compete with major players Tesco and Sainsbury’s.

B&M plans to open ‘no fewer than’ 45 brand new stores in the UK in each of the next two consecutive years.

And the British Heart Foundation opened a huge new store in south Bristol in April, Bristol World reported.

Do you have a money problem that needs to be solved? Get in touch by emailing [email protected].

Plus, you can join our Sun Money Chats and Tips Facebook group to share your tips and stories