Un­cer­tain time for city cen­tre stores

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - UK & World Update - By KEN MCERLAIN ken.mcerlain@pe­ter­bor­oughto­day.co.uk

A CITY store is fac­ing an un­cer­tain fu­ture af­ter be­ing placed in ad­min­is­tra­tion just days af­ter an­other shop in Peter­bor­ough closed down.

Toy and nov­elty gift chain Hawkin’s Bazaar, which has a store in Bridge Street, was placed in the hands of ad­min­is­tra­tors Zolfo Cooper yes­ter­day.

A Zolfo Cooper spokesman said it was too early to com­ment on the long-term fu­ture of the Peter­bor­ough store but it will re­main open.

Shoe shop Bar­ratts, which was based in Queens­gate Shop­ping Cen­tre, closed its doors just be­fore Christ­mas af­ter the com­pany was placed into ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Hawkin’s Bazaar is owned by Suf­folk­based Tol­bar Group, which op­er­ates as a re­tailer and whole­saler of toys and gifts and has 65 stores across the coun­try.

The group em­ploys around 380 per­ma­nent staff na­tion­ally and has a re­ported turnover of about £60 mil­lion.

The ad­min­is­tra­tors said they would work to try and pro­tect jobs and search for a buyer for the com­pany.

Joint ad­min­is­tra­tor Peter Sav­ille said: “In com­mon with many re­tail­ers the Tol­bar Group has ex­pe­ri­enced ex­cep­tion­ally chal­leng­ing trad­ing con­di­tions of late.

“At this stage we in­tend to con­tinue to trade the com­po­nent parts of the group while we seek a buyer for all or parts of its op­er­a­tions.

“We will be work­ing closely with all rel­e­vant stake­hold­ers to en­sure that we iden­tify the best pos­si­ble out­comes re­gard­ing preser­va­tion of jobs, the value of the busi­ness and re­turns to cred­i­tors.

“As this work con­tin­ues we will seek to make fur­ther an­nounce­ments as ap­pro­pri­ate.”

Hawkin’s Bazaar cus­tomers own­ing gift vouch­ers may still ex­change these for goods.

Bar­ratts en­tered ad­min­is­tra­tion be­fore Christ­mas and yes­ter­day the firm an­nounced it was mak­ing 1,610 re­dun­dan­cies across the UK.

The job losses are at the re­tailer’s out­lets within other stores across the UK and the Repub­lic of Ire­land.

Ad­min­is­tra­tors Deloitte

said

sell- ing the con­ces­sion part of the busi­ness would “not be achieved”.

How­ever they are still try­ing to find a buyer for the re­main­ing 173 Bar­ratts high street stores which re­main open af­ter an­nounc­ing 18 store clo­sures.

Deloitte said it is work­ing with the con­ces­sion hold­ers, which in­clude depart­ment stores, to see if the former-em­ploy­ees could be re-em­ployed in other parts of their busi­nesses.

The Brad­ford-based firm had 191 stores, un­der the Bar­ratts and Price­less Shoes brands, in the UK.

The firm is one of sev­eral high street names that have been hit hard by weak de­mand over the past cou­ple of years.

Home fur­nish­ings store Habi­tat went into ad­min­is­tra­tion in June while Jane Nor­man and Fo­cus DIY did the same in May.

Hawkin’s Bazaar, in Bridge Street, and Bar­ratts in Queens­gate.

UNCER­TAINTY:

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