THREE stores on the same street in Dorchester town centre are closing their doors as businesses struggle with the economic effects caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The shops, all within a one-minute walk of each other on South Street, have posted large signage outside confirming the news.

All of the shops have cited financial difficulties due to the Covid-19 pandemic with jobs set to be lost. 

Peacocks has posted large 'closing down sale' signs within its windows with huge discounts on its stock. Its stores in Bridport, Weymouth, Poole and Boscombe are also shutting their doors. 

It comes after its parent company, Edinburgh Woollen Mill, has started to wind down with 24,000 jobs at risk. 

It has more than 1,000 stores in the UK including 265 Edinburgh Woollen Mill stores and 479 Peacocks outlets.

Edinburgh Woollen Mill has also recently displayed closing down signs within its windows as shoppers continue to browse its shelves as normal. 

The store has also reduced trading to six days a week with opening times of 9am to 4pm on Monday to Saturday. 

M&Co, the fashion retailer which sells men’s and women’s clothing and homewares, is also winding down its Dorchester branch as part of restructuring plans.

The high-street chain said in August it will continue to operate with 218 stores and 2,200 employees after completing a restructuring, having hired Deloitte as administrators in April.

M&Co said it believes its reduced network of stores, focused on local high streets, will strengthen its position, ‘with the coronavirus outbreak reducing appetites to travel longer distances on public transport’.

The three store closures on South Street will come as a blow to Dorchester town centre after Clarks, The Body Shop, Carphone Warehouse and TUI closed their doors during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Despite these high-profile store closures, six new businesses opened their doors in Dorchester this year, including CW Hats & Accessories on Antelope Walk and Luccio’s in Brewery Square.

Dorchester Chamber President, Steve Farnham, was sad to see these stores close down - but remained positive and believes that trade 'remains good' in Dorchester town centre during the coronavirus pandemic. 

He said: “We are very sorry to learn of the loss of shops in Dorchester, particularly stalwarts like The Edinburgh Woollen Mill, M&Co and Peacocks. 

"The decision to close these shops has been taken at a national rather than a local level and the trade in Dorchester itself remains good in the face of unprecedented difficulties. 

"All the interested parties are working hard to make sure the town centre remains as safe and buoyant as it can be in light of the challenges and with that effort I am hopeful our retailers can have a decent Christmas and New Year trade."