Bookshop to close with clothing store set to move in

Great Reads Discount Bookstore is closing down in Castle Street

Great Reads Discount Bookstore is closing down in Castle Street - Credit: Ben Hardy

A city centre bookshop will be closing this week after less than a year with a clothing store set to open in its place. 

Great Reads in Castle Street is due to shut its doors for the final time on Wednesday with a closing down sale currently on offer. 

The store was opened on a short-term lease in December 2020 as one in a franchise of eight run by national chain Bestsellers Direct.

Great Reads in Castle Street is closing ahead of the lease being due to terminate in November 

Great Reads in Castle Street is closing ahead of the lease being due to terminate in November - Credit: Ben Hardy

Mark Williamson, operations manager for Bestsellers, which is based in Sheffield, said he is actively looking for an alternative location in Norwich. 

He said there had been struggles to staff the satellite store in Norwich with two of the four staff already serving their notices. 

A total of seven staff were originally in place when it opened.

Mr Williamson said: "It was taken on a short-term lease and the landlord is pursuing a tenant on a longer term basis. They are close to finalising a permanent tenant for the unit."

The lease for the store is due to terminate in November.

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British clothing company Joules has recently submitted a planning application for the Castle Street listed building which falls within a conservation area.

The application seeks permission for the shopfront to be clad in timber.

In a design and access statement, the applicant said the existing doors and entrance tiles would be retained if the plans get the go ahead from the city council.

The statement adds: "Joules operate a soft management strategy to take into account of wheelchair users with regards to counter heights, staff members are not permanently positioned behind cash desks, which can offer limited customer interaction." 

Joules currently has a store further down Castle Street. 

Mr Williamson said the planning application had "jolted the Greater Reads staff into finding alternative employment". 

Despite opening the store in challenging circumstances due to the pandemic, Mr Williamson said he had no regrets.

"It's been worthwhile. I would extend the lease if it was permanent," Mr Williamson said.

He added that the closing down sale is likely to run all day on Tuesday and for a half-day on Wednesday.

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