THE UK’s leading retailer of parent and baby products has announced it will close its store in Clacton.

Mothercare, in Pier Avenue, has been a staple of the town centre for more than 30 years.

The specialist retailer announced in July that 60 of its 137 stores in the UK would close by June 2019 as part of a restructuring programme.

Bosses have now confirmed that Clacton’s branch is one of those affected by the programme.

Graham Webb, chairman of the Clacton Town Partnership, said the closure was a massive blow for the town following the loss of its popular Marks and Spencer branch, also in Pier Avenue, last month.

“It doesn’t really get any better for the town,” said Mr Webb.

“I rather worry that this is just the start of the trend.

“Mothercare are another big national store, it’s something people come to town for - now that reason to come into town is going.

“It is a big blow after Marks and Spencer closed.

“Black holes are starting to appear and unfortunately it’s another one in Pier Avenue.

“We’ve lost Claire’s Accessories, Marks and Spencer and now Mothercare - all in matter of months.”

Mr Webb added that with the rise of internet and out-of-town shopping, the issue of parking in the town centre needs to be addressed urgently.

An employee at Mothercare said members of staff were not aware when the final day of trading would be, but that the team was “pulling together”.

A spokesman for Mothercare said: “We’d like to thank all our customers in the area for their support and look forward to continuing to serve them at our Ipswich and Chelmsford stores and online at”

He added that a “huge” closing down sale with all stock reduced to clear was due to be launched yesterday.

He said: “This is a great opportunity for shoppers to get some amazing bargains on last-minute Christmas gifts and maternity, baby and toddler essentials.

“Our most popular ranges will sell out quickly so we encourage all customers to come into the store as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.”

Zoe Fairley, Tendring councillor responsible for investment and growth, said while the closure of the Mothercare branch was disappointing, it was a sign of the times.

“Once again a national retailer is closing almost half of its stores across the country, of which one of the branches shutting is in Clacton – it is not just our town,” she said.

“While any closure is unwelcome, it gives us a chance to revitalise and re-energise our high street.”

Last month Mothercare blamed “challenging” conditions after sales fell sharply in the first half of the year.

For the half-year to 6 October, the retailer reported a pre-tax loss of £14.4million.