AN OUTDOOR clothing store in Dorchester will shut its doors for the final time today.

Millets, which has been based in South Street for a number of years, will shut at the end of trading today Customers have been able to take advantage of discounted items over the last few weeks due to a closing down sale.

Staff members are being transferred to Blacks, based a few doors down.

Blacks and Millets both fall under Blacks Outdoor Retail, the largest outdoor retailer in the UK, now owned by the JD Group. In 2012, the JD Group acquired the trade and assets of Blacks Leisure Group PLC when it went into administration.

The Dorchester branch of Millets was expected to close in March last year when other branches were axed, but the county town store stayed open after a new rent was negotiated.

In his 2013 statement, Peter Cowgill, executive chairman of the JD Group said the group’s outdoor stores had a ‘mixed period’. Mr Cowgill said the autumn and winter season that year would be a key time for Blacks and Millets.

An employee at the Dorchester branch of Millets, who wished to remain anonymous, said staff found out about the decision to close the shop nearly a month ago.

The employee said: “We didn’t know anything about it and we just came into work and saw the sign outside it saying To Let.”

The employee understands the store could be replaced by a new coffee shop.

Reacting to the store’s closure, Dorchester BID project director Phil Gordon said it was always sad to see a business close.

He remained optimistic however about the high street’s future.

Mr Gordon said: “Dorchester is doing extremely well in terms of bringing new business to town and I’m very confident that the shop won’t remain empty for long. It’s in a prime location on South Street.

“For every one that’s closing, another one is opening.”

Mr Gordon highlighted Neal’s Yard Remedies as an example of a new business, which has recently set up shop at the Tudor Arcade.

Lee Bagnall, managing director at Millets Outdoor Stores, said: "We are really sorry to say that after trying to re-negotiate the terms of our lease the landlord has let the store at an increased premium to another party, it was not financially viable to continue with an increased rent.

"We have another group store in Dorchester which is traded under the Blacks Fascia, this store will continue to stock a lot of similar lines to the Millets stores.

"We would like to thank the customers of Dorchester for their valuable custom and hopefully if a suitable site can be found we will open again in the future."