THE Bournemouth branch of the card chain Clintons has closed after the building was let to a new tenant.

Two lettings agencies had been marketing the property at Old Christchurch Road.

The business said the majority of the staff at the store had been redeployed.

Clintons, which has been seeking to renegotiate rents for many of its shops, had denied more than once that it had plans to close the store.

A representative for Clintons said: “We can confirm that the Bournemouth store on Old Christchurch Road closed on Saturday, September 14.

“In this case the landlord served us with notice, bringing our lease to an end, hence the closure.

“The majority of staff from the store have been redeployed. We are glad to confirm that it is business as usual for our additional store in Castlepoint Retail Park and we look forward to serving our customers in the local community in the autumn, the run up to Christmas and beyond.”

Paul Kinvig, chief operating officer for Bournemouth Town Centre Business Improvement District (BID), said: “It’s incredibly sad. For all the good work that everybody’s doing, you can’t get away from the fact that there are some real challenges in the high street.

“It’s indicative of the real challenges that retailers are facing currently. There’s no easy answer to it but I come back to the whole issue of business rates and people’s shopping habits online.”

But he said there were positive signs in the area around the Clintons store. As reported last month, there are plans for a sushi restaurant, Kokoro, at the empty Jones Bootmaker store next to Clintons.

Mr Kinvig said: “There are four or five other units in and around Beale Place and Old Christchurch Road that are currently in the latter stages of being sold. We’ve seen some major names disappearing but we’re going to see units being filled.”

The shop unit was marketed by both Willis Commercial and Goadsby but the new tenant has not been revealed.

Clintons announced a pre-tax loss of £14.2million earlier this year, down from £19.4m the year before. It was in administration seven years ago. In common with other famous names in retail, it has been asking many landlords to cut its rents, and has renegotiated around 160 leases in the past two years.

It has been shutting unprofitable stores, cutting costs and improving profit margins.

Earlier this month, it was reported that the owner of Clintons was considering selling the business.

The Weiss family took control of Clintons in 2012 when they bought its bank debt and forced it into administration.

The family was said to have brought in the professional services firm KPMG to review its options. KPMG had begun contacting potential bidders for the company, Sky News said.

The business has been hit by the growth of card sales online and in supermarkets, as well as the rise of the bargain competitor Card Factory, which has been opening more stores.