THE Next store on Dorchester’s high street has closed.

A notice has been placed outside the store telling customers: “This store has now closed. Your nearest Next stores are on Wessex Gate Retail, Poole and in The Peel Centre Yeovil. Sorry for any inconvenience caused.”

A spokesman for Next confirmed the news and said: “We can confirm this store closed on Saturday, September 22.

The spokesman added that the store closed because its lease had expired.

Neil Strudwick, Chairman of Dorchester BID, commented on the news and said: “It’s sad that a well-known high-street brand has left Dorchester. I can’t imagine a prime location shop like that will be empty for long.

“Dorchester is such a fast-moving town with a lack of empty shops, I can’t imagine this being a loss for the town in the long term.”

Steve Farnham of Dorchester Chamber for Business said: “We are sorry to learn of the closure of Next in Dorchester. The Dorchester shopping centre has faired very well compared to other towns who suffer more empty shops than Dorchester.  

"We know that the Dorchester Next store does not fit their standard business model of larger stores out of town, so hopefully this is just a blip in an otherwise healthy high street. However, cannot be complacent and must make sure that everything is done to continue to have a vibrant town centre. “