A MAJOR retailer has announced it will be shutting down its town centre branch after 81 years of trading.

Marks & Spencer (M&S) have revealed it will be closing the High Street store on Saturday, 21 April.

As previously reported the well-known brand announced it was consulting with its 50 branch employees on the proposed closure.

Aaron Spicer, Head of Region for Wessex, said: “Proposing to close the store was a difficult but necessary decision.

"Over the past few weeks we’ve been consulting with our colleagues and, following this rigorous process, the decision has been made to close the store on 21 April.

"We’d like to thank our customers for the feedback they’ve given the team and we hope to see lots of them continuing to shop at our other stores in Hampshire, Wiltshire and Berkshire, as well as on M&S.com.”

Residents will have to travel as far as Winchester (16 miles away), Newbury (19 miles away) or Newbury Retail Park Simply Food (16 miles away) to get to their nearest store.

It is part of Marks and Spencer's programme to modernise its UK store estate to better meet the changing needs of customers.