Dozens of jobs are set to be lost and the future of one of Ilkeston’s landmark buildings could be in doubt.
The news that Ilkeston Co-op Department store in the Market Place is to shut will come as a hammer blow to the town.
Chief executive of the firm’s fashion and home business, Martyn Cheatle said: “Major changes in the retailing sector and the ever increasing growth in online shopping over recent years have created significant and fundamental challenges for the society’s fashion and home business.
“Whilst our other businesses have flourished, the society has been incurring substantial losses from the fashion and home operation for more than a decade and in spite of sustained efforts to improve performance, the latest financial projections indicate a further decline with increasing losses in future years.
“Unfortunately, efforts to sell the business as a going concern have proved unsuccessful and after much consideration it is with great regret that the board of directors has taken this very difficult decision to close the fashion and home business.
“Please be assured this decision was not taken lightly and was necessary to protect the long-term future and growth of the society as a whole.”
The closures, which also include the Long Eaton bed centre and department stores across the Midlands, will mean the loss of a total of 388 jobs.
“A plan has been put in place for a phased closure of nine fashion and home stores over the next six months,” added Mr Cheatle.
“This could potentially affect some 388 store-based employees, although every effort will be made to redeploy employees into other business areas and it is anticipated that the society’s ambitious new food store development programme will help facilitate this.
“The society is also exploring viable change of use options for the fashion and home sites.
“As stated we will fully investigate redeployment opportunities in surrounding business units and society operations.
“The society is in full consultation with all affected staff and trade unions.
“All customer orders and gift vouchers will be honoured, and customer enquires will continue to be handled by staff at our Fashion & Home stores during the phased closure. In addition staff in our local food stores will be able to provide ongoing customer service. Alternatively customers can contact the society’s customer service team at our head office in Lichfield.”
The future of the food store in South Street, Post Office, cafe and travel agents within the department store is unclear at this stage.
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More on this story to follow.