THE Halesowen branch of shoe shop Clarks is set to close - after decades in the town - store bosses have confirmed.

The shop in the Cornbow Shopping Centre will shut its doors some time before April 1 after the chain decided not to renew its lease.

A spokesman for Clarks said the store was closing due to "declining sales and profitability."

They said: “Clarks continually reviews all its stores to ensure that they are the right size and located in the right areas in order to provide the best possible offering and environment on the high street to its customers.

“Our store in the Cornbow Shopping Centre will be closing by April 2019.

"We have a strong duty of care to our employees and are doing everything we can to minimise the impact on colleagues in Halesowen.

"All team members are being consulted with and we are exploring all avenues to find them suitable alternatives, including ensuring that they are made aware of roles in nearby Clarks stores.”

Cornbow Shopping Centre manager Eve O'Connor said the news was a blow to the town.

She said: "We are shocked and saddened - it will leave a real hole in the centre.

"They have been there for more than 20 years."

The eight employees at the store are aware of the situation and consultations are ongoing to redeploy people where possible.

But Eve said there was some good news on the horizon with a major retailer set to take over four units in the centre - with an announcement expected within a week or so - and Costa Coffee set to open its branch on February 14.