Calls for Marks and Spencer to remain in Accrington have been rejected by company bosses following crunch talks with town centre chiefs.
M&S said the decision to leave the town after 53 years is final, despite their commitment to a 100-year lease.
The company is now planning to sublet the unit on Broadway for the remainder of the lease, which is believed to be another 40 years.
A petition of more than 4,000 signatures opposing the closure was handed to M&S head of public affairs, Tony Ginty, during last Friday’s meeting.
Town centre leaders said they were disappointed that M&S would not consider modernising the store instead and keeping it open.
Council leader Miles Parkinson said: “There’s a lot of investment going into the town over the next couple of years and we really hoped Marks and Spencer would play their part in supporting that investment.
“It became pretty clear early on in the meeting that the decision to move has already been made and the company was not willing to reconsider its position.”
Accrington Town Team chairman, Coun Clare Cleary, said: “While I didn’t expect miracles, I had hoped the company would listen to what we had to say and go away and reconsider their decision. Our last remaining hope is that once they have read the petition and seen the depth of public feeling they will decide to exercise their corporate responsibility and give the store a reprieve.”
Mr Ginty confirmed the store will move to New Hall Hey, in Rawtenstall, in May. The 28 staff working in the Accrington store will be offered roles in Rawtenstall and at other existing stores.
Conservative group leader Coun Peter Britcliffe said the decision seemed like a betrayal to loyal customers who had used the store for five decades.
He said: “There seems to me no good reason why the company shouldn’t refurbish the store, concentrate on its most profitable lines and stay loyal to its customers.
“I truly believe this is a short sighted decision by the company and I would urge them to rethink.”
An M&S spokesperson said: “The decision to close our Accrington store is not one we have taken lightly. While we have taken the views of the local council into consideration, our position remains the same.
“We want to ensure we are in the best location to serve our customers, and one which is fit for the future of M&S. We believe we have found this in Rawtenstall.”