ELECTRICAL retailer Currys is leaving Basildon town centre.

Currys confirmed it is closing its branch in the town centre early next month.

Staff were told about the closure on Friday and were shocked by the sudden news.

DSG International, which owns Currys and PC World, said it hopes to employ staff at other local shops.

But Basildon councillor Pat Rackley, ward member for St Martins, said it was a bitter blow for the town.

She said: “There are quite a few empty shops now and it’s taking away the soul of the town centre.

“Currys has been there a long time and it’s a major retailer, so this is very bad.

“We went there on Saturday to buy a TV and the staff have always been really helpful – they were just shocked about it closing.

“One person said he had been offered a job in Lakeside, but he doesn’t drive, so can’t travel there. These shops are important, because not everyone can get to the big out-of-town shopping centres they rely on public transport and the town centre.”

Among the current vacant buildings are one half of the former Woolworths store, after Poundland took over the other half, and the former Adams shop.

A spokesman for DSG International said: “The Currys Digital store in the Town Square will be closing in early September as part of the ongoing portfolio review of our high street stores.

“The team has been informed and we are hopeful they will all take up alternative roles within the DSG organisation, as there are a number of other Currys and PC World superstores nearby, as well as the new Currys Megastore in Thurrock.”