VALUE store This Is It will close its Poole town centre branch in January.

The general purpose retailer, which took over the former Woolworths store site in 2010 will become the latest Poole High Street shop to close for business.

Store staff declined to comment officially when contacted by the Daily Echo, but the store exterior is covered with 'closing down sale' signage and we understand the shop will close on January 26 with the loss of around 20 full and part time jobs.

The Echo also understands staff were informed of the situation before Christmas.

Yesterday, customer Peter O'Neil said: "We popped in to see if there were any bargains in the sale, it is sad that people are losing their jobs and another shop is closing on a high street.

"I guess budget shops like this can struggle against the internet the same as all other retailers.

"Not a nice way to spend Christmas though, knowing you have lost your job."

Another shopper said: "It is a shame another shop is closing, especially one of such a prominent site.

"If people want a high street they have to come out and use it, and councils need to be a bit nicer about setting local business rates as well."

The Daily Echo has approached This Is It for comment but, to date, no-one has been available.

Meanwhile, BCP Council deputy leader and cabinet member for regeneration and culture Cllr Mark Howell said: "It is located in a place that has been acknowledged for many years as a weak part of the high street.

"As everyone knows high streets up and down the country are going through a transitional process, and nobody quite knows what the result will be.

"But we are already investing in Poole High Street and this area is one of the areas being considered for improvement.

Cllr Howell, who is also Poole Town ward member on BCP Council, added: "There has always been conflicting arguments, some people have said you need to put something in the middle of the high street to join the two ends up. Other people have said we should just concentrate on either end.

"I do think there is an opportunity there."

This Is It opened their first high street store more than 20 years ago.

Since then a number of outlets followed across the south west, before their online store was launched in 2010.

The Poole store is the company's only one in Dorset.

According the the company's website: "As our online store has expanded, so too has the range of products we sell.

"In addition to buying products from established brands, our buying team has branched out into designing products exclusively for This Is It stores.

"Our own brand products are meticulously tested before going online to ensure they’re of the highest standard.

"Our camping range, Trail, has grown into one of the biggest online outdoor leisure brands.

"We also have our own range of home furniture (Christow), children’s ride-ons (RideStar), children’s toys (ToyStar), fitness gear (Core Balance), sports equipment (JumpStar) and solar lights (Lightware)."

n SEE page 14 in today's Echo business page to read more about the toll 2019 took on high street retailers.