AFTER a retail giant recently announced the closure of 16 stores across the UK, Wilko has confirmed the future of its Darlington store.

Wilko announced that its branch in Stockton’s Castlegate Shopping Centre has closed, meaning another high-street casualty.

The spokesperson for the retailer confirmed the Wilko store on East Street in Darlington is “very much business as usual.”

This will be music to the ears of the people of Darlington who have recently seen many shops and food outlets in the town disappear.

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Clarks on Northgate announced it would be closing in January 2020, before the pandemic.

The redevelopment of Darlington Indoor Market has seen the closure of popular café, IL Cappucino, which had served the people of Darlington since its opening in 1986, as well as Mulholland and Son, a well-established butchers which has now ceased trading.

Darlington Market saw a surge of new food outlets opening in September 2021, including Fresco Street Pizza, which liquidated after three months of trading due to unpaid rent and staff wages.

What’s Your Beef - a burger stall in Darlington Market also shut up shop after a few months of trading in February 2022.

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2021 saw numerous high-street casualties for Darlington, including Topshop and Topman, which were bought by Asos, and Dorothy Perkins, Wallis, and Burton, which were bought by Boohoo.

Burger King on Prebend Row closed its doors in January 2021 and Pizza Hut on Horse Market followed in December 2021.

Most discount shops continue to be popular in the town, however, including Wilko, Poundland and B&M Bargains.

It is not all bad news, as many independent businesses have popped up in Darlington since the pandemic began including Bakerman on Clark’s Yard in September 2020 and Betty’s Boudoir Boutique on Blackwellgate in November 2021.

In response to Wilko branches shutting across the UK, Roger Jenkins, GMB national officer, previously told The Northern Echo: “These closures are devastating for Wilko workers and the communities who use them.

“It’s yet another nail in the High Street’s coffin and GMB calls on councils and landlords to review commercial leases and offer lower rents.

“Empty high streets and shopping centres are in no one’s interest and but with 400 shops a week closing, this is inevitable, unless the costs of premises can be reduced.”


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