ONE of Monmouthshire’s oldest department stores is to close its doors after more than a century.

The owner of family-run Richards, in Abergavenny, is retiring and his daughters don’t want to take up the reins.

John Harrison, of Beaufort, who took over the popular store in Frogmore Street in 1996, said: “Richards has been a part of the town for over a century.

“Our last day will be a very sad one and a huge wrench for me.”

Mr Harrison bought the store from the family of the late Owen Richards, whose father started the firm in 1909.

The family are well-known in the Valleys as Mr Harrison’s grandfather set up a hardware store in Market Street, Ebbw Vale, in 1910, which was run by John’s father, Edward, and later by John.

He sold the store to two members of staff in 2006. He also owned a hardware store in Commercial Street, Tredegar, for many years.

Mr Harrison, his wife, Alison, and daughters, Rachel, Gemma and Aimee, have helped to run the store, which over the years has sold china, gifts, toys, babywear, cookware, tools, electrical goods, gardening accessories and household items. Mr Harrison, who has always worked on the shop floor, said: “I wanted to retire but my daughters did not want to carry the business on so I decided to call it a day.

“The High Street has changed over the years, with many retailers now selling over the internet.

“It’s a difficult time and the townis suffering because of the recession.

“I will miss my customers, many of whom travel from all over the area, and my three members of staff.”

The store will close on September 15 and the building leased to Comfort Zone furniture.

Trader Fiona Bevan, of the Miserable Cow Coffee Bar, Cibi Walk, and member of Abergavenny Business Club, will be sad to see the end of such an iconic business.

“We (traders) are very supportive of family-run and independent businesses in the town. It is a very sad time for the Harrisons, their staff and customers.”