THREE independent retailers in the same town have announced they are all to shut up shop within a matter of weeks of each other.

Andertons Ribble Valley Butchers, Urban Sheep and the Chocolate Box are located within 500 metres of each other in Clitheroe town centre, and all three of them recently told loyal customers that a decision had been made to stop trading from their Ribble Valley locations.

A combination of factors have contributed to their closure, but ultimately it is down to a lack of footfall in the town centre, argue councillors.

Based on King Street, the Chocolate Box will close its doors at the end of the month after almost a century of trading from the same location.

The chocolate, sweet and ice-cream shop has cemented itself as a firm favourite in the town since it opened in 1927 but is due to close due to new ownership of the premises.

Karen Danby, owner of Urban Sheep on Moor Lane, put a lack of footfall down to the rise of internet shopping as a contributing factor leading to the closure of Urban Sheep.

She said: “We are seeing a rise year on year for online shopping but that brings with it a decline in high-street shopping.

“Clitheroe has some wonderful independent shops and it would be a shame to lose them.”

A spokesperson for Anderton’s Butchers said: “The closure of the Clitheroe shop has been long in consideration.

“The family feel that this is a positive decision and in the best interests of the business and its employees.

“We have enjoyed a successful number of years in Clitheroe and have been heartened by the sorry, yet positive comments received.”

Cllr Ged Mirfin said the latest announcements were a big deal for the town.

“This probably has a lot to do with the marketplace development not moving forward as rapidly as possible.

“I expect this will eventually affect a whole host of businesses as well. Footfall is down and nothing seems to be happening about it.”

The news comes after prominent figures in the business community called for action over long-anticipated plans to revamp the town’s market.

Speaking at the time, Cllr Ken Hind, leader of Ribble Valley Borough Council, said: “There is support for the redevelopment of Clitheroe town centre with a modern market at its heart, but in response to public opinion the scheme will now not include a hotel.”