Confidence in Tunbridge Wells’ ability to remain a vibrant shopping destination will take another hit after two more brands announced their intention to leave the town.
Fashion retailer New Look announced it would cease trading in its Calverley Road premises by the end of September 5. They will be followed four days later by Crew Clothing on the High Street.
The news comes just one week since the quintessential Middle England clothing and homeware retailer Cath Kidston decided to leave the Royal Victoria Shopping Centre.
Two departures in as many weeks will add to fears that Tunbridge Wells is becoming locked into a cycle of decline.
A spokesperson for New Look said: “I can confirm Tunbridge Wells, Calverley Road store is surrendering on September 14, last day of trade is September 5.”
A member of staff at Crew Clothing confirmed the date of closure for the High Street shop will be September 9.
Readers had already reacted with dismay at the loss of Cath Kidston, with sentiment likely to sour further as other major brands depart.
Della Jane said: “Every time I come into town; another shop has gone. Not much point in coming into T Wells anymore,” while Hazel Smith described Tunbridge Wells as ‘finished’.
However, despite customers being given just a few days’ notice of the closure, it appears the writing was on the wall for Cath Kidston a year ago.
It has also emerged it has no plans of coming back.
Cath Kidston’s decision to vacate its High Street premises and instead relocate to the Royal RVP was in fact part of an ongoing disengagement from the town.
A spokesman for the rapidly growing company said: “Our Tunbridge Wells pop up store in Royal Victoria Place was always planned to be open for one year and our lease has now ended.
“Although we have enjoyed our time in the shopping centre, we are not currently looking to open a permanent store in Tunbridge Wells.”