A POPULAR Burnham-on-Sea hardware shop which is one of the town's oldest shops is set to close next months, the owners have announced.

Phillip Hemming, 62, has been running Home Hardware in Burham's High Street for the last 24 years with his wife, Jill, but will be retiring and closing the shop at the end of August.

The store has been trading in the town for decades and sells everything from saucepans and cutlery to paint and tools.

Speaking about the closure Phillip, said: "It is with deep regret that I announce that I have finally had to admit defeat on the battle to keep the shop open.

"Due to circumstances beyond my control the business will close down at the end of August.

"I am now past retirement age and wish to have a few years of relaxation.

"I wish to take this opportunity to firstly thank my loyal staff who have stuck by me through uncertainty of redundancy while negotiations took place over the last 12 months, especially to my manager Darren, who came to the shop on work experience 30 years ago and has been with me for the 24 years of my tenure.

"All of the staff will become unemployed at the end of August."

Phillip said he has been trying to sell the shop for the last year as he 'desperately wished' for the business to continue but sadly has had no success.

He said he was offered a deal on July 8 but refused to take it as the terms and conditions 'almost certainly ensure financial suicide in today's climate.'

Phillip added: "Thank you to Graham Jones from Major Motors who has for the last six months been desperate to purchase the business, he has shown extreme obstacles put in his way.

"Graham desperately wished for the business to continue, as did I, for the benefit of the town.

"We have finally had to admit defeat, having both run up solicitors bills.

"The business could not have been a success without the loyalty of all my customers and I wish them a fond farewell and thank them for sticking with me throughout much local competition.

"It has been great fun for me most of the time."

A spokesman for Burnham Chamber of Trade said they are sad the shop is closing its doors and it will be 'greatly missed'.

"Home Hardware has been a popular and much-valued business in Burnham's town centre for several decades where super customer service has always been at the core of what Phil and his team have offered.

"The store and staff will be greatly missed."