AFTER 26 successful years in the town, Kidderminster hair salon Umberto Giannini has closed its doors.

The Oxford Street salon closed for the final time on Saturday, December 16, as the lease on the building ended.

Ian Moseley, franchise manager, said: "I wish to thank our amazing clients and staff for their support and loyalty over the years."

A spokesman for Umberto Giannini said staff were employed by the franchisee and the company was unaware of any planned redundancies.

Founded by Kidderminster-born Umberto Giannini, the business is one of the UK's most successful and well-known hairdressing brands and boasts an award-winning range of products.

Umberto, who learned his trade in London and America, opened his first salon in Kidderminster. He sadly passed away in January 2001, at the age of 33 after losing his year-long fight against dermatomyositis, a rare viral disease which causes inflammation of the skin and muscles and affects only one in 200,000 people.

Umberto Giannini salons in Hagley, Stourbridge and Worcester will remain open - and the group has opened a state-of-the-art flagship site in Birmingham.The company is set to expand into international distribution in 2018, with further plans for salon openings outside to Midlands in 2019.

There are talks currently underway to establish a collaboration between the Umberto Giannini company and Kidderminster College's hairdressing department to keep Umberto's legacy alive in his hometown. The company will be providing career advice, guest speakers, demonstrations and products to the hairdressing course.