HOUSE of Fraser’s decision to turn its Swindon store into a bargain basement outlet could turn shoppers away from the town.

Jo Stagg, the president of Swindon Chamber of Commerce, said the High Street chain was dumbing down its store by bringing in end-of-the line branded stock and special make-up products tailored to local markets.

The retail giant will be closed for three days next month and reopen on November 29 as the rebranded House of Fraser Outlet.

Between 60 and 70 per cent of the new store’s stock will come from House of Fraser’s core chain.

Ms Stagg said the changes to the flagship store would make shopping centres in other nearby towns and cities more attractive to shoppers.

She said: “They are looking at their business model as are other businesses in light of the fact that times are tough.

“Personally, I would be disappointed if they turned themselves into an outlet.

“It would be a pity and make it more difficult to compete with places like Cabot Circus in Bristol.

“To dumb it down would not be portraying the town with aspiration and prosperity.

“Ultimately it’s their decision. They have to make the decision that’s right for them.”

Peter James, the chief executive of the New Swindon Company, said House of Fraser’s decision was disappointing.

“If House of Fraser closed down it would be awful,” he said.

“As an outlet it will have a new image and offer new brands to the public.

“They will refurbish the shop and change the facade.

“I wouldn’t say its gone downmarket. The pound shops have already done that.

“But it reinforces the importance to get on with the Regent Place shopping centre.”

Don McCarthy, the chairman of House Of Fraser, said the decision to form the House of Fraser Outlet was not the direct result from the downturn in Icelandic firm Baugur, which has shares in the company.

Shoppers were less than enthusiastic about the changes to House of Fraser.

Christina Grainge, 43, from Highworth, said: “I think it’s a bad idea. We already have a outlet centre so why would we want another one? We have enough downmarket shops already.”

Lizze Brinkworth, 24, from Chippenham, said: “House of Fraser is known for its good quality clothes and now it’ll be full of cheap tat. I’m not impressed.”

Mechanical engineer Michael Martin, 51, from Stratton, said: “I’ve often wondered why it was in Swindon in the first place. It seems out of place. Perhaps of where it’s positioned in town.”

Mark Leslie, 35, from Oxford, said: “I come here to buy my suits. I would have a look in still. It depends what they had on offer.”