BOSSES of Barnitts say its Acomb store is not closing down any time soon, even though the landlord has put the premises on the market.

Paul Thompson, managing director of the family-owned home and garden business, said that while the owner of the building in York Road was trying to sell it, Barnitts still had two-and-a-half years remaining on a 25-year lease.

He said that as the lease’s expiry approached, Barnitts would consider a number of options, including remaining at the shop, moving to alternative premises in Acomb or pulling out of the area altogether.

The decision would be affected by a variety of factors, including the amount of rent being demanded, the impact on trade in York of the new retailers opening in the Monks Cross area and the possibility of larger, more suitable premises becoming available in Acomb.

He said customers did not have the level of choice they had at the much larger city centre store in Colliergate.

Mr Thompson said that Barnitts, which was founded in 1898 and is one of the largest independent stores in the city, had been behind the times in terms of stock control but was now engaged in a major modernisation project.

He said it was investing heavily in improvements to its website and installing electronic point of sale data systems.

It planned to launch a “click and collect” service from both its Acomb store and the main city centre store in Colliergate, giving customers full access to the extensive lines sold in the shops.

There were also plans to open a trade counter at its warehouse premises in James Street, although this might not happen until next year.

The business also wanted to install a lift at the store in Colliergate, although this would be subject to planning permission being granted.