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NORTHWICH town centre has been dealt a massive body blow with the news ones of its most famous stores is closing its doors for good.

Bratts of Northwich has been serving the community for over 160 years, but sadly after an incredibly difficult year, the company have been left with no choice but to close their doors for good.

The greatly loved family-run department store made the announcement on Tuesday (April 6) morning, but confirmed they will continue to operate its store in Nantwich, which will now become the main base of operations.

Initially founded in 1860, the Bratts family consisted of two department stores, their flagship store located in Northwich and another on Pepper Street in Nantwich.

Passing through three different families - the Bratts, the Evans and current owners, the Grays - the original Northwich branch still resides in the same spot on Witton Street as it did back then.

Mr Gray, son of former co-owner Donald, took over the business alongside his family, who have all been involved in one way or another helping to run their day-to-day operations.

His father, Donald Gray and his brother John inherited the business from their own father, John Arthur, who initially purchased Bratts when it stagnated in the mid-1920s. Bratts of Northwich has always prided themselves on putting family at the very heart of everything they do.

The news will be felt by many, especially for all of the hard-working team who are unable to return to work following a lifting of coronvirus restrictions, but also those in the local community who have spent their life visiting Bratts for their locally famous scones, popular fashion brands, and delightful customer service.

A spokesman said: "Bratts has been a pillar within the Northwich community for decades, and their closure is a huge loss to our town.

"Undoubtedly, this decision will have been incredibly difficult to make.

"Bratts of Northwich is a household name in our area and their team have been serving our local community for so long, but sadly there were no possible routes left for them to pursue, and closing their doors has become unavoidable.

"They are incredibly grateful for the love and support that Northwich and the surrounding areas have shown to their small family-run business over the past decades.

"Many people will remember visiting Bratts of Northwich as a child, shopping for gifts and enjoying afternoon tea, and the Bratts team have dedicated many years of their lives to helping other families to create warm memories under their roof. It’s a very sad day for Northwich, our surrounding areas and the Bratts family."

The Nantwich branch, which is located in the heart of the town, will become the main base of operations moving forwards and will continue to offer popular branded women’s fashion and footwear.

They are set to reopen on April 13.