CHESTER Cathedral’s shop has closed due to financial difficulties with the loss of three jobs.

The shop had sold a range of souvenirs, cards, music, books, jewellery, religious items, sweets, puppets and gifts, with all profits contributing toward the maintenance of the cathedral.

But the cathedral says the shop is not viable ‘out of season’ leading to poor trading figures over the course of the financial year.

Spokesman Nick Fry said the shop manager and two staff members had accepted redundancy having been offered alternative roles. Volunteers had all been personally informed of the closure.

Mr Fry said a review was ongoing but the cathedral would continue to sell a limited range of goods such as guide books within the undercroft.

He said: “We have had some pretty difficult trading conditions recently so what we are doing is a full rethink of the shop.

Mr Fry added: “We are looking at whether a commercial retailing offering is even possible. It may not be possible to open at certain times of the year.”

Mr Fry said the arrival of Peter Howell-Jones, the new vice dean of Chester Cathedral, was the ‘catalyst’ for across the board changes.

He added: “We are carrying out a full 360-degree review of all our activity right across the cathedral. Everything is being looked at. I don’t want to give an impression that it’s a matter of viability. We are looking at everything to see how we can move forward.

“And we are trying to do everything with as much openness and transparency as possible.”