A devoted shopowner may be forced to close as poor trading conditions mean she can’t cover her rent.

Elaine Lunn, 53, who has run wool shop Loving Stitches in Halstead for over four years, fell behind on payments to owners East of England Co-op and fears it could be the end of her business.

She said: “We haven’t been making any money for a while and I’m 53, disabled and won’t be able to get another job.

“I’m going round in vicious circles because I’ve not got enough stock and my suppliers are a family business in the same position.

“There will be nothing left in Halstead before long.

“Wool shops are closing all the time as our trade is falling but if the town is not being used then we are going to lose the rest of our shops too.”

Mrs Lunn believes the town has lost its appeal for the older generations and they will lose out if businesses continue to fail.

She said: “There is nothing here for older people who have lived here all their lives and only come out once or twice a week.

“They are so lonely and I will really miss my old ladies that come in to have a chat.”

Chairman of Halstead Chamber of Commerce Anne-Maree Roberson said shoppers are still being careful with money and only spending on necessities.

“It’s always sad news to hear traders are suffering and it really is a juggling act in this day and age, especially for a niche market like crafts.

“When it comes to the average man on the street, wages aren’t going as far as they used to.

“Having said this, trade in Halstead is on a level plane at the moment, which is positive.”