Marks & Spencer is to proceed with the closure of four stores in Lincolnshire and Warwickshire, which locals had campaigned to keep open.
The retailer will shut its shops in Grantham, Scunthorpe and Skegness - all in Lincolnshire – and the Nuneaton store in Warwickshire next year.
The shops had suffered declining sales for some years. Following consultations with employees and local representatives, M&S chiefs remained convinced that the stores were no longer commercially viable.
Former manager of the Skegness branch Avril Smith told the BBC: “I personally think they are making a grave mistake because this business won’t go elsewhere.”
A South Kesteven District Council spokesperson said: “Marks & Spencer have had a very clear business strategy for some time to invest in their much larger retail sites. While this is disappointing, we must not forget our local, niche shops.”