IT IS supposed to be a time of excitement and joy as parents await the arrival of their baby.

However, the countdown to the big day has turned into an anxious wait for scores of parents-to-be after the sudden closure of a baby shop.

Expectant families are facing the prospect of losing hundreds of pounds spent on nursery furniture, prams and other vital equipment for their newborn, after the closure of the JKUK branch in Southampton.

Some angry mums and dads gathered at the gates of the Bitterne store yesterday to demand answers from shop bosses but were met by the sight of locked gates.

More than 100 people have lodged complaints with trading standards in recent days after the company failed to deliver goods or give any refunds.

Fuming parents told the Daily Echo how the shop had problems delivering products since August.

Kate Austin, 26, from Winchester, who is expecting her second child next monthJanuary, spent £600 at the store on a pram, car seat and baby bouncer.

She said: “It’s awful. Only last Sunday they were still taking people’s money. They kept on making up excuses as to why they were not delivering my things. I’ve had to reorder my things on credit card, which I can’t afford.”

Joshua Emmett and Robyn Page spent £300 on a buggy and car seat.

Robyn, 17, from Hedge End, who is expecting her first child this month, said: “It’s made me really angry.

“We will have to buy a much cheaper buggy now which will not be as good. We are really upset as we saved for seven months.”

Hampshire polcie said they had been called to the premisies on Tuesday afternoon regarding a cicvil dispute, but officers had not attended.

Dave Truscott, director of JKUK, told the Daily Echo last night that the firm had been forced to close both its Southampton and Portsmouth stores but wouldn’t say why. He said that the firm was not in administration and he hoped that both the stores would be reopened next week.

He said: “It is with regret that we had to close the stores in both Southampton and Portsmouth this week but we are working hard to try and get them open again by Monday next week.

“What we are trying to do is not let any of our customers down.”

The closure of the Bitterne Road store follows that of one in Bournemouth, although Mr Truscott said that store had been shut as part of a “consolidation programme”.

Southampton City Council trading standards officers had recently been working with the company to try to get customers either their goods or money back. A council spokesman said they were again trying to get in touch with company bosses.

“Once we have done this we will be able to advise members of the public the best action to take.”

In the meantime customers are advised to contact Consumer Direct.