A WEALDSTONE art shop opened 77 years ago could be closed down putting almost 200 jobs on the line.

Staff at the headquarters of ColArt Fine Art & Graphics Limited, in Whitefriars Avenue, face an uncertain future after the company announced proposals to axe the branch by the end of next year.

No final decision has yet been taken and there will be a 90 day consultation period before the fate of the 190 employees is decided.

Neil Robson, the company's managing director, said: “We are proud of our committed and skilled workforce at Wealdstone, and it is with much regret that we have had to consider this proposal.

“If the proposal is to proceed, the long timescale of the transition will allow us to support the employees in a responsible manner.

“Sadly, Wealdstone’s physical location, in the heart of a residential area, makes it difficult to absorb additional capacity, and it is with regret that the company must consider a proposal to close the site by end of next year.”

Paul Barnard, a spokesman for the company, said the staff were in no way at fault but the closure may be necessary to guarantee its future in an increasingly competitive global art market.

He said: “We are very proud of our staff. They have been very loyal, excellent workers. It's not a reflection on the staff at all.

“Hence it is with great regret that we have had to choose Wealdstone, it's a sad day.”