OXFAM has said it is closing a branch that has stood for more than 30 years with “a heavy heart”.

The charity shop in Boundary Road, Portslade, will stop trading after March 7.

Oxfam said the store was shutting down because it is not generating enough profit.

James Gregory, 55, has spent 16 years as a shop assistant in the branch.

He said: “I’m not too happy about the shop closing, but what can you do?

“People will be sad to see us go. We’ve got a lot of regulars. When we tell them we’re closing, they’re shocked.

“Working here changed my life. No two days are the same. I really enjoy it. I like doing the books and DVDs – I love reading them, and I look at them while I’m sorting them. It’s really fulfilling work. The customers are one of the best parts of the job. I’ve made loads of good friends here and we even meet up for coffee from time to time.”

Karin McHarg, from Southwick, is a regular. She was browsing through the clothes.

She said: “It’s such a shame it’s closing down. I’ve been coming here for 20 years. It’s not changed a lot in that time. There’s a new floor, but that’s about it. James is charming and very friendly. He’s always happy.”

Staff said it had become more difficult to run the shop over the years. One said: “The whole area has changed since I started. Charity shops just come and go. Volunteers leave and it’s harder to get new staff.”

Twenty members of staff work at the Portslade branch. Some, like James, are full time, while others chip in when they can.

Most of them have found jobs in nearby charity shops or other Oxfam branches in Brighton. James has landed a position at the Oxfam bookshop in Kensington Gardens.

Shoppers felt the closure was sad but inevitable.

One said: “All the charity shops are closing, one way or another”.

Brigid Jones, 82, from Hove, said: “Any charity shop closing down is sad news. I pop in for clothing every so often. It’s awful in this day and age that people rely on them – but they do such an important job.”

A spokesman for Oxfam said: “We are very sad to be leaving Portslade after more than 30 years. Oxfam is constantly evaluating the profitability of all our shops to ensure we’re efficient and raising money for Oxfam’s vital work.

“Sometimes this process results in us having to close a shop if it isn’t found to be viable, but these decisions are always made with a heavy heart and are never taken lightly.

“We’d like to thank the staff and wonderful volunteers in Portslade for all their hard work in the shop, and pass on our thanks to everyone in the community who has supported Oxfam over many years.”