SHOPPERS have been left reeling after being dealt a double blow with two more stores closing in Kidderminster .

The shock news about the closure of Ryman stationery shop and WH Smiths Books has left residents worried about the state of the area, which has become blighted by a number of empty shops in recent years .

It was only last month that discount superstore Hooty’s closed in Worcester Street following the shutdown of it s main site in Willenhall.

The leases at both Ryman, which closed in the Rowland Hill Shopping Centre last Saturda y, and the High Street- based book store , due to shut early next month, have come to an end and bosses have opted not to renew them.

The other WH Smith store , in Vicar Street , which will include the town centre post office from next Tuesday, will continue to trade , however.

It is not yet known what will become of the empty units but Wyre Forest District Council said it was fighting to bring retailers to the area.

Conservative John Campion, district council leader , explained: “We are work ing hard to attract and support retailers in the district.

“Our Business Rate Relief programme , which has been running for the past 16 months , has been very successful and assisted 27 businesses to get started in previously empty premises .

“It is important to remember that the council has no control over shop rents or business rates but we have used local schemes to help offset these costs .”

Ryman blamed a “decline” in shoppers at Rowland Hill, where it had been based for 17 years , for its decision to close .

A spokesman said they had tried to make the store work in the shopping centre but had to make the difficult decision to shut, with the loss of four jobs: “We tried our best to make it work for a number of years in the shopping centre but we just have to leave, with regret,” he added.

“It just didn’t work out, as hard as we tried.”

It is yet known if any jobs will be lost at WH Smith Books or if stock will be transfer red to the Vicar Street store .

Cllr Campion said the council was committed to breathing new life into Kidderminster town centre .