AN independent trader has revealed it is closing down, blaming the rise of online shopping for putting it out of business.

The Kate Saint bridal boutique on Grange Road in Darlington is due to close in the next three months, once remaining stock has been sold.

Ms Saint blames the increasing popularity of online shopping for the demise of her business.

She said: “The internet has done the damage, to a lot of independent retailers, not just me.

“I had three customers in the other day, one of them was trying on hats and she had found ‘the one’, but her grand-daughter said ‘why don’t you see how much it is online’ and out they went.

“I felt like doing a Basil Fawlty, I wanted to put the hat on the floor and jump on it.

“People see TV programmes telling them to come in and barter in independent stores and we are the ones who can afford it least.

“When all these little shops have gone, they won’t be coming back. There won’t be any of us left before long.”

Ms Saint said parking charges in the town had also put off potential customers from coming to Darlington.

She added: “Who really wants to come shopping in Darlignton? People will go somewhere they don’t have to pay to park.

“I am a sole trader and there is only me to pay my mortgage.

“I have made a living here for the past 15 years and I would like to thank everybody that has patronised me, but I am not doing it any more.

“People are just wanting discount all the time, there is a half-price culture.

“I think they think I get the stock for nothing – it’s expensive to buy and the problem is not what I sell, it’s what I don’t sell.

“There have been lots and lots of days when I have done absolutely no business at all.”

The store has one part-time member of staff, who has worked for Ms Saint for the past 12 years.

Ms Saint said will retain the lease on the unit after the boutique closes, but is staying tight-lipped for now about her future business plans.