A SUPERMARKET in Barry has closed down unexpectedly just three weeks before Christmas.

Filco on Thompson Street closed its doors on Monday evening (December 4).

A member of staff, who wished to remain anonymous said that employees were given no prior notice of the closure.

They added that said that they had been informed last Friday that a meeting with senior bosses was to be held the following Monday.

At the meeting staff were informed that they were being made redundant with immediate effect.

A sign on the shop door notifying customers of the closure says that the store will be closed "until further notice" however there is no indication that there are any imminent plans for it to reopen.

Filco managing director Ian Hunt said that keeping the store open had become unsustainable, due to increasing competition and the growing popularity of online shopping.

Mr Hunt said: "Since this newly built store at Barry opened in December 2015 our company has been fully committed to creating a viable, sustainable and profitable business on the site.

"We opened at a time when the national grocery sector and local trading conditions were undergoing a rapid change, with increased activity and competition from the national discounters and particularly a huge increase in home internet shopping.

"Unfortunately, it has proved impossible for us under these conditions to move our business forward at Barry and we therefore have no alternative but to cease ongoing operations at Barry for the time being."

Cllr Millie Collins, Plaid Cymru councillor for Barry Docks, said that the reputation of the Llantwit Major-based retailer was in jeopardy following the move.

"This is dreadful news for the staff, especially just before Christmas," said Ms Collins.

"There are a lot of questions to ask about whether this has happened suddenly, or whether it was planned for some time. The store is only a few years old, and as my local supermarket, it always seemed decently busy when I was shopping there.

"How they treat staff and any customers who have booked Christmas food with them is very important. Filco's reputation is on the line here, and as a 70-year old well-established local South Wales business, I hope they will step up to the mark.

"Thompson Street is an important part of the Holton Road Shopping Quarter, and I hope that a replacement tenant can be found for the store, and that other shops in the area join in with Holton Road traders to create a stronger voice for the street."