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'Everything shutting down' cry shoppers as bargain sports store with 500 locations marks branch for closure | The Sun

SHOPPERS have cried "everything shutting down" as a major bargain sports store retailer prepares to close one of its sites for good.

Sports Direct, which runs over 500 stores in the UK, is gearing up to pull down the shutters on its branch at the Orbital Shopping Park in Swindon in the new year.

Customers' next closest branch is based in Regent Street in the town centre.

A spokesperson for Frasers Group, which owns Sports Direct, said: "It is with regret that we announce Sports Direct Swindon in Orbital Shopping Park will be closing early 2024.

"We would like to take this opportunity to thank our staff for their hard work and dedication.

They added: "Where possible, we are committed to finding new roles within the Group for staff."

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Local residents have shared their devastation following the news the branch is closing.

One said: "Oh dear another empty shop what is Swindon coming to a ghost town."

Another commented: "Sounds about right everything shutting down," while a third added: "It’s a shame as it’s my favourite shop."

A fourth quipped: "Could the last shop out please turn out the lights."

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It's not the first Sports Direct branch to close in the last few months.

The retailer, owned by Mike Ashley's, closed its store in the Central Six Retail Park in Coventry in October.

It also launched a giant closing down sale before shutting its branch in Blackpool in November.

Meanwhile, Sports Direct Fitness, owned by Sports Direct, shut its Salisbury site for good on December 11 to the shock of members.

Sports Direct isn't the only retailer to close stores in recent months either.

Many have been hit hard as shoppers increasingly turn to online retail and away from the high street.

High inflation since last year has seen households' budgets squeezed too, meaning they have less to spend on leisure purchases.

Game, also owned by Frasers Group, has pulled down the shutters on three branches this year.

It closed its store in Commercial Street, Newport, Wales, on October 18.

However, it reopened inside the Sports Direct unit on the corner of the same street just two days later.

In June, closure signs were seen in the windows of a Game branch in Braehead, Scotland, as it geared up to relocate to a nearby Sports Direct unit.

"Store closing" signs were spotted at a branch at the Ropewalk Shopping Centre in Nuneaton in October too.

In the same month, House of Fraser confirmed it will close its branch in Lakeside Shopping Centre, Grays, in January next year.

It has closed three stores in 2023 already, including in Cardiff, Guildford and Birmingham.

Other retailers have gone bust this year too, including Wilko and Paperchase.

But it's not all bad news.

Paperchase has since returned to shops after opening concessions in 250 Tesco supermarkets.

Meanwhile, Wilko has relaunched online and some of its physical branches have reopened to the public.

A number of other retailers have been expanding their store portfolios too, including B&M and Poundland.

Meanwhile, Frasers Group has started opening new "concept stores" as it looks to shake up its portfolio.

In September, it cut the ribbon on the latest of its new department stores combining popular brands like Sports Direct and Game in Norwich.

It has also opened two further sites in Blackpool and Sheffield in recent months.

The Frasers Group also recently snapped up luxury clothing retailer Matches Fashion in a deal worth £52million.

Meanwhile, designer clothing chain Choice, bought by The Frasers Group last year, recently pulled the shutters down on its Bromley site but replaced it with a Flannels.

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Tessuti, another brand it snapped up, has also closed several stores in the past year, but its Burnley location has since reopened as a Flannels.

Sports Direct was founded by Mike Ashley in 1982, and now runs over 500 stores in the UK.

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