A DOWNTURN in customers has been blamed for the sudden closure of two takeaway sandwich shops in Poole – with the loss of nine jobs.

The Subway franchises at 368 Ashley Road, Parkstone and 73 High Street, Poole, operated by Super Subs Ltd in Bournemouth, ceased trading on Monday.

RSM Tenon in Bournemouth has been instructed to put the company into liquidation.

The franchisee, who asked not to be named, said his three other Subway stores in Poole – a second one on the High Street, the Commercial Road store, and a branch on Waterloo Road – had been sold earlier in the year. The remaining two had struggled to stay afloat alone.

“They were the lower performing of the five we had, but there are other stores performing extremely well in the territory,” he added.

A spokesman for the liquidators said the staff would be paid through the government’s redundancy payments office. She put the loss of the business down to “generally a down turn in customers”.

Simon Tammam, chairman of the Ashley Road Chamber of Commerce, said the news had come as a complete surprise to him. “It’s always a big concern to have empty shops on the road. At the moment it’s a big surprise he’s actually decided to give it up. It’s very unfortunate,” he said.

He added: “I just hope that somebody else takes it on and does something with it.”

Poole Town Centre manager Richard Randle-Jones said: “It’s unfortunate that any shop should close down in the High Street but at the current time we are seeing vacant units being taken up. It’s an opportunity for another business and new investment.”

A Subway spokesman said that in Dorset “business is still going very well with stores in both Poole and Bournemouth, trading ahead of last year's profits.”

“Subway in Boscombe is reopening on October 13 and plans for a drive-through store en route into Poole and a new store in Charminster are currently under way.”