AS businesses eagerly await the end of lockdown to start trading again, one store is set to disappear from the high street in Taunton.

Next clothing store announced in December it would be closing its store in Fore Street as falling sales had made it unable to make a profit.

Staff were informed that the shop would close in May when the lease is up.

A board advertising the building for rent is currently fixed to the outside of the premises.

A company spokesman said at the time that it did not plan to open up in other premises in Taunton, although it has not ruled out returning to an out-of-town site.

The move will bring to an end Next’s two decades in Taunton.

A Next spokesman told the County Gazette in December: “After 20 years of trading in Taunton, we will cease trading in May 2020, when the lease comes to an end.

“This is one of the smaller stores in the company’s portfolio and unfortunately we cannot warrant the store being in the town due to falling sales.

“We have consulted with the staff in-store and hope that where possible we will be able to relocate them to a store close by.

“Despite our disappointment that we are no longer able to trade profitably at our store in Taunton town centre, we do hope to return to Taunton in an out-of-town retail park subject to the right opportunity and favourable planning decisions.”

Next had previously been interested in taking space on the proposed Firepool development, which has been vacant for more than a decade. But it announced in May 2018 that it was “no longer interested” in the site.

The County Gazette has approached Next for comment.