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WATCH: 'Very sad' - Beatties customers speak out over end of an era

Shoppers have spoken over their devastation after it was announced Beatties in Wolverhampton is set to close its doors after 141 years.

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Customers shared their dismay at the closure plans for Beatties

Customers arrived at the flagship store from 9am today only to find the department store would be opening late and closing its doors for good next year.

There was a sombre atmosphere around the store, with more than 270 members of staff's jobs facing an uncertain future.

WATCH: Beatties customers speak of their sadness over store

Among those stunned by the news was Ann Bickley, aged 64, from Perton, who worked in the city as a teacher for 38 years.

She said: "I'm very sad about it. The legacy of Beatties goes back for decades. This is a great blow for the city.

Ann Bickley

"Such an iconic name, I know it's House of Fraser, but we know it as Beatties. I think the building has to be retained, if either the council or university can take it over.

"It's such an iconic building with so much heritage. It's really upsetting. I'd rather it be used for flats or something but the building itself, Beatties has done such a lot for Wolverhampton.

"This used to bring people into town, what else is there?

"I love Wolverhampton with the passion. It's such a sad sad thing and yet another blow for the town."

Couple Gillian and Brian Cadman, of Wolverhampton, have been shopping together at the store for the best part of 60 years.

Gillian and Brian Cadman

They said they couldn't imagine the town without and said it was a 'big blow' for the city.

"They've tried to keep the standards up but have just struggled. The staff have really tried," said Mrs Cadman.

"When the sales were on the queues used to go right around the corner. It really was the top shop in the area."

Mr Cadman added: "We've shopped here for the last 60 years or so. It was the shop of shops and the place to come.

"We always used to come for a Christmas lunch and do our shopping there. I think it will be a big blow for the city."

Posters apologising for opening late were stuck around the department store, which eventually opened its doors at about 10am.

Sheila Ball, 83, from Wolverhampton said: "What a terrible thing to happen – it's very sad.

"When it was Beatties it was first class.

"It's a shame but doesn't surprise me. Beatties was very posh – ordinary working class like us we didn't feel like we could shop there.

"It's always been a beautiful and lovely shop. They stopped selling meat and clothes at the bottom – so you could see it was on its last legs.

"I think people will miss it – look at the size of it – every part of it was open when I was young.

"Wolverhampton has become worse since it became a city."

John Jones

Since the 1960s, John Jones has been visiting the store and while he wasn't surprised – was said to see it go.

He added: "I've used this store for years – right into the 1960s.

"There is a lot of lovely people who still come to use the store.

"So it's really sad to see it close but we were expecting it."

Jesse Meg

Jesse Meg, aged 50, from Wolverhampton added: "It's really sad because you get really quality clothes and shoes from here.

"This is one of the best shops I know, I use it regularly and don't know why it is closing down.

"I think it will be a huge blow for the city. Even my husband shops here."