A PHOTOGRAPHY shop is closing after 38 years in the business with a dire warning for the future of the high street.

The London Camera Exchange in Bournemouth said it has faced stiff internet competition and could not get its landlords to reduce the rent.

The Old Christchurch Road shop had a mass gathering of camera-wielding customers on Saturday and will cease trading at 1pm this Saturday, May 29.

Manager Mark Thomas, 48, started work at the shop 21 years ago as an assistant and is one of three staff losing their jobs.

He said: “We wanted the landlords to reduce the rent but they decided they weren’t going to move on the proposal.

“In a few years time there won’t be any high street shops, just clothes shops.

“I always said customers came in here to look at the cameras then walked out and bought them online.

“I said to them one day they will walk down and wonder: ‘What happened to all the shops?’ “People like browsing on a Saturday and going shopping – but there won’t be anything there.”

The switch to digital had devastated the film printing side of the business. And while turnover remained good the store’s margins had been cut by the need to meet internet prices.

Mr Thomas said he is probably moving to Canada to live with relatives in Vancouver.

Roger Parker, Bournemouth’s town centre manager, said: “It’s a real shame, as far as good service and good advice is concerned, that this shop is moving out.

“Many landlords have been doing deals so it’s also a shame they could not in this case.

“People also need to understand that if they don’t use these places, they will lose them.”

The London Camera Exchange chain is still trading as usual and the nearest stores are in Southampton and Salisbury.

The landlords said it was incorrect they would not negotiate and that they had an excellent reputation with their tenants.