One of Maryport’s largest stores is to close next month.

The Original Factory Shop announced the closure yesterday.

The company has cited “the current climate and effect the coronavirus has had on the retail sector” as the reasons for the store closure.

The shop was welcomed by community leaders and customers 11 years ago when it filled the gaping hole left in Senhouse Street, in the town centre.

The company says it will cease trading on Saturday, March 13,

It is understood that the stores in Wigton and Egremont will not be affected by the closures.

Maryport businessman John George, who owns two Senhouse Street businesses, said the news was “disappointing, but perhaps not unexpected.

“A new store came to town selling many of the same line; the difference is, it has something like 107 car parks compared to the 29 we have up Senhouse Street.”

He said the closure might give Allerdale Council the opportunity to incorporate it into regeneration plans which include the Empire Theatre yard next door.

“Maryport has to be treated as an individual case and that includes retaining all the parking we have on the main shopping street.”

He said the loss of The Original Factory Shop, while very disappointing, should not affect other businesses adversely.

“It is not the kind of niche shop that bring people into Senhouse Street.”

Mayor Peter Kendall said it was a sign of the times.

“We are hearing every day about businesses, even large ones like Debenhams going under,” he said.

“When this is all over, we are going to have to look at the retail industry and how it can be changed to meet modern needs.”

He said a West Cumbria problem was people from outside the area buying up properties and then leasing them out at exorbitant rents.

He added: “I think people who own their own buildings will survive better in this pandemic.”

He encouraged people to shop locally whenever possible.