A WELL-known furniture store which has been in Worcester for more than 175 years is to close.

The director of Russell and Dorrell blamed the recession for the decision to close the store in County Mills, Riverside.

The closure, expected to happen within weeks, will see 21 people lose their jobs and the building – the site of the city’s former cattle market – sold.

Howard Dorrell said the store had come to the “end of the road” after suffering from the slow-down in the housing market.

He said he chose to close when he could not foresee an improvement in the country’s finances for at least three years.

Mr Dorrell said: “It’s going to take three, four or five years. I think this year you’ve got the cuts and the tax rise to get through.

“Next year you will have the focus on interest rates as inflation gets under control and that will reflect in the housing market so it isn’t until 2014 that things will get going again.

"It’s a long haul and we took the view that perhaps it is the time to call it a day.

“I think the time has come. I’m in my 60s and I really think it’s quite a long time to stick at it and I think I’m looking at retirement.”

The store has long been a landmark in Worcester.

Originally in the High Street, it was started in 1834 after Mr Russell bought the business from a tailor called Thomas Wilks.

In 1846 it became Russell and Dorrell after Mr Dorrell’s great, great uncle James became a partner, eventually buying out Mr Russell in 1870.

Over the years the business flourished and became a well-known name in the part of the High Street which currently houses Monsoon and Next.

The store moved to its present location in 2003.

Mr Dorrell, who has been in the business for 30 years, said the store’s “loyal and committed” staff were his greatest concern.

He said: “It’s a difficult time for them and their welfare is important to us.”

He also said there were no family members to take over but he was pragmatic about the store’s demise.He said: “I have got to be realistic. The world changes.”

The store will close at the end of May or early June.