THE owner of discount retailer Geordie Jeans blamed rising rents and the buying power of supermarkets for the closure of the firm's last store.

Geordie Jeans will shut down for good after 30 years in business when its only remaining store in the region, in South Shields, closes in a few weeks.

The firm, which had ten outlets and manufactured its own jeanswear during its prime in the early nineties, said its business was no longer sustainable.

Geordie Jeans owner Derek Robson said: "Until recently we had stores in the MetroCentre and in Gateshead but we simply couldn't meet the extortionate rents they were asking so we had to close them down.

"Also when major supermarkets are able to sell jeans for £4 a pair then you start to realise your days are numbered."

The retailer, which opened its flagship store in South Shields, employed about 200 staff at its peak. As well as nine stores in the North-East, Geordie Jeans also had an outlet in Stoke-on-Trent.

Mr Robson said it was a sad day for the business and for about 20 remaining staff who will lose their jobs.

He said: "I've staff who've worked here for 17 or 18 years and it's not a nice thing to have to tell those people they are losing their jobs. We've had shops in the region since the mid-70s so it will be sad saying goodbye to all that. But in the current climate I've been left with no choice."