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TWENTY-FOUR jobs are set to go after Paul Simon announced it was shutting shops in Basildon and Rayleigh.

The curtains and carpets retailer is shutting all its stores, including those at Pipps Hill, in Basildon, and the Rayleigh Weir retail park, off the A127, after administrators failed to find a buyer.

The Lakeside store was sold to Lewis’s Home Retail, along with six other branches, earlier this month.

Administrators Deloitte failed to find a buyer for the remaining 22 shops, and they will now close their doors for good within the next few weeks.

Tony Ball, leader of Basildon Council, is confident the 14 employees from the Basildon store will not be out of work for long.

He said: “It’s very sad news and worrying for the people who work there.

“On a positive note, with Next and TK Maxx opening in our retail parks, it shows there are companies willing to open in Basildon.

“There are other opportunities in retail for the people who have lost their jobs, and hopefully the unit won’t be empty for long.”

Bargain hunters are expected to descend on the stores, with remaining stock set to be sold off in clearance sales.

Lee Manning, lead administrator, put the Paul Simon closure down to high rents and the low prices of goods. He said: “We very much regret a buyer for the remaining stores, as a going concern, could not be found.”