FASHION chain New Look has said its Bournemouth town centre store will shut next month after 21 years.

The retailer said the closure of its branch in the Square was not its own decision but that it was being ousted by the landlord.

BCP Council’s deputy leader has voiced hopes that the store could be offered another site.

Fashion shoppers have already seen the demise of big names such as Debenhams, Topshop and Topman as high street brands, as well as the disappearance from the town centre of H&M and Marks & Spencer.

Wilko announced recently that its Bournemouth store would close in February unless it could negotiate a better deal with the landlord.

A New Look spokesperson said: “Regrettably the New Look store in Bournemouth will be closing in February after the landlord decided to exit the lease early.

“Whilst it was therefore not our decision to close the store, we are focusing on supporting our store colleagues and where possible finding alternative roles for them within the business.”

The New Look site was being marketed by property agency Jackson Criss last autumn.

New Look’s landlords across the country were given more scope to end its leases when the Weymouth-based chain sought a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) to reduce its debts in 2020.

The CVA, which cut New Look’s debts from around £550million to £100m, included “enhanced landlord breaks”, allowing landlords to end leases “if they believe they can identify an alternative tenant on improved terms”.

BCP Council deputy leader Cllr Phil Broadhead said he and the Town Centre BID were “working very closely with local agents and freeholders to see if we can find them another spot in Bournemouth”.

“We’ve got a few ideas. We’ve already had a number of good conversations with some of the freeholders,” he said.

Paul Kinvig, chief operating officer of the Bournemouth Town Centre BID, said: “It’s obviously disappointing to hear this news but it is clear this is the landlord’s decision, not that of New Look.

“Without knowing the details of the discussions between the parties, it would seem that the landlord has taken the decision to invoke a break clause in the lease contract.

“We are already in the process of contacting New Look to see if there is anything we can do, working with other partners, to help facilitate New Look remaining in the town centre. They are an important retailer.”

New Look was one of the key names brought in when a row of buildings on Bourne Avenue and Richmond Hill were redeveloped at the turn of the millennium. The store, originally a neighbour of Borders bookshop, opened in February, 2001.