BLACKBURN'S newest shop opened its doors yesterday -- just weeks after the previous occupant had moved out and taken a swipe at the town.

Textile Direct has replaced Andy's Records in a prime shopping centre unit in Ainsworth Street, which overlooks the market area, following a quick refit.

The firm took on the lease from Andy's Records after the firm decided the town was not profitable enough.

It closed on August 11 with all six members of staff being offered jobs elsewhere.

Councillors were told at a recent meeting that the fact a new occupant had agreed to fill the unit proved Blackburn was an attractive business proposition.

But Andy's Records personnel director Teresa Kane caused outrage among traders and councillors by blaming the store's decline on high rents at a time when customer numbers were falling.

An Andy's branch in Preston closed in July, and Mrs Kane said she thought both towns were in recession.

"One of the reasons is because of high rent. The rent has been going up, and also the number of people coming into the centre has been falling."

Brian Bailey, assistant director of regeneration at Blackburn said that Blackburn town centre was busier than ever.