IN A surprise weekend closure, Chepstow’s Mole Valley country store shut up shop for the last time on Monday (15th October).

The closure followed an announcement last Friday (12th October) from the store’s director, that the company had been unable to negotiate with the building’s landlord in the time allowed following the nationwide takeover of Countrywide Farmers stores.

The Larkfield shop’s closure leaves the rural town without a large, central agricultural retailer for the first time in several years, after Mole Valley took over from Countrywide Farmers in only May this year.

Keith Ockenden, commercial director, said: “It is very unfortunate that despite our continued efforts to secure the future of this store under realistic new terms, it has not been possible.

“This is an extremely disappointing outcome for both staff and the company, given the level of investment made at this location.

“It also indicates further some of the current challenges in the retail sector, where landlord expectations exceed market value and affordability for expected tenants.”

It is thought locally that supermarket chain Aldi is poised to take over the large building, after the company announced plans at the beginning of the month to move into Chepstow as part of an expansion roll-out. Keep an eye on the Beacon online for updates.