Beloved Portsmouth party shop U-Need-Us is packed during its clearance sale ahead of its closure

SADDENED customers said their farewells to a beloved party store as it edged closer to shutting up shop for the last time.

Thursday, 28th March 2019, 6:57 pm
Updated Thursday, 28th March 2019, 7:06 pm
Bagging a bargain, Linda Brown and Lucy Parrett, 44, outside U-Need-Us Picture: Habibur Rahman

People poured into U-Need-Us to take advantage of the ‘Portsmouth institution’s’ closing clearance sale.

The store, which straddles Arundel Street and Slindon Street, has been a staple in Landport for almost 96 years.

But declining trade has forced the independent retailer to call time on its premises, with owners taking the tough decision to wind up the store on Saturday.

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Bagging a bargain, Linda Brown and Lucy Parrett, 44, outside U-Need-Us Picture: Habibur Rahman

And in a final effort to clear stock, U-Need-Us has been holding a flash sale, with all items being flogged off for £1.

Performing arts teacher Natalie Ennis was among those at the shop reluctantly taking advantage of the closing-down deals.

She said: 'I’m born-and-bred Portsmouth and I’ve always used U-Need-Us. It’s just such a shame that it’s going. It’s such institution within Portsmouth it’s a real shame through their demise we’re all benefiting in the last few days they’ve got left.’

Keri Murphy,34, of Lanport, has been a customer for years and always said the shop was her number one choice for party goods.

Customers grabbing what they can before U-Need-Us shuts its doors Picture: Habibur Rahman

She was sad to see it go and said: ‘It’s called “U-Need-Us” and we really do need them. It sounds a bit cliche but it’s the go-to shop. When you need stuff you go there. But now there's going to be nothing else like it.

‘The other party shops don’t even come close.’

Since breaking the news of the shop’s closer over Facebook earlier this month, store owner Steve Searle, said he was touched by the response from locals, which he described as ‘unbelievable’.

‘It shows you how much love and affection people have for the shop,’ he said, adding:  ‘I guess they thought it would always be here. But sadly if you don’t use it, you lose it and now they’re finding out the lesson of that.

Natalie Ennis said she was sad to see the store go Picture: Habibur Rahman

‘So if you want your high street to survive and you want your independent shops to survive you need to use them.’

Family-run U-Need-Us opened in June 1924.

Mr Searle said he will always remember the impact the store had, adding: ‘I would just like to say how proud we are that we have managed to serve the people of Portsmouth for nearly 96 years.

‘We’re really proud and pleased to have played a part in the history of Portsmouth.’

Waiting for a bargain, Tina Mula 47 with Dahlia, one. Picture: Habibur Rahman