New owner could be found for Axminster’s Trinity House

Trinity House at Axminster whose closure has been delayed until November. Picture Chris Carson

Trinity House at Axminster whose closure has been delayed until November. Picture Chris Carson - Credit: Archant

Negotiations are under way to secure a new owner for Axminster’s Trinity House department store.

Axminster Property, owned by local businessman Ian Styles, has revealed that it is representing a potential buyer for the building - currently the town centre's biggest shop.

The loss-making store was expected to close last month but owner Goulds, of Dorchester, now plans to keep it open until mid November.

In the meantime Axminster Property has issued a statement saying it is holding talks which could see the building remain an important feature in the town's shopping centre.

The company said: "I can confirm that negotiations have been entered into with the current owners of Trinity House on behalf of one of our clients.

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"Though I cannot give too much away, I can tell you that should this be successful the plans for the building would ensure a valued and exciting addition to the town, eliminating the risk that it will be left empty.

"We are dedicated to making this happen but also to the continued economic growth of the town and surrounding Axe Valley by creating these opportunities, not just for our clients but for local businesses, employees and the community as a whole."

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Current operator Goulds announced in March that the department store was unprofitable and had become a victim of the nation's changing shopping habits which have seen many switch to on-line buying.

This week a spokesman confirmed its closure had been delayed by a few weeks.

He said a number of the 19 staff had been found new positions within the group, which has other stores at Dorchester and Sidmouth and a garden centre in Weymouth.

Welcoming news of a potential new owner, Totally Locally Axminster spokesman Barrie Hedges said his organisation has been given permission by Goulds to place display materials in the windows once they are empty.

He said: "We are talking to other local groups about how best to take advantage of the opportunity."

In its original statement, announcing the closure plan, Goulds said: "Despite having made a considerable investment in the business in an effort to make the Axminster store viable, current trading conditions, coupled with the continuing economic pressures on the department store sector, dictate that the business can no longer sustain an unprofitable branch store in Axminster."

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