ANOTHER major store in York's Coney Street is closing down tomorrow - prompting growing concern about the future of the city centre's premier shopping thoroughfare.

The closure of the fashion clothing retailer River Island is affecting 17 employees, with six accepting jobs in other stores and the remaining 11 taking redundancy.

Would-be customers are being advised to head after tomorrow to River Island's next nearest branch at Monks Cross on the city's outskirts.

A spokeswoman said the company had decided to close its Coney Street branch ‘after careful consideration and review over time,' saying:“With the current market as it is, our decision to close this store is due to trading performance and store location.

“Other site options were looked into but currently nothing met our requirements, but would consider relocating if the right space became available in future.”

The closure is the latest in a series of blows to Coney Street, where nine premises are already lying empty including the huge former BHS store.The Dorothy Perkins/Burtons store was due to close last September but was given a stay of execution and remains open at the moment.

Andrew Sharp, head of business at destination management organisation Make It York, said it was concerning to see another business close in one of York’s premier shopping streets.

"It has traditionally been home to a number of large chain stores and the recent changes in consumer demand, as well as the rise of online retail, have seen some big names disappear from high streets across the country," he said. "This has all hit Coney Street particularly hard in recent times."

However, he claimed York had an otherwise healthy picture for retail, with additions in the last year including Jessops, Sweaty Betty, Crew, Seasalt, Marchbrae and Abraham Moon, and he said leisure and retail vacancy rates in the city centre were 8.2 per cent compared to 10.1 per cent nationally and 14.5 per cent regionally.

He said Make It York was working hard with partners, including the retail forum, York BID and City of York Council, to tackle the complex problem and revive the business and retail offer in Coney Street. "We’re confident this situation can and will be turned around," he said.

He said Make It York had not been made aware of River Island's closure plans in advance but would now be getting in touch with it to ask if it could help advise on other possible premises for the retailer.

It had also produced a brochure setting out key reasons a retailer might choose York and had used it to target retailers, directly inviting them to consider it as a destination.