Christmas threat to 11 shop jobs
The Campbeltown branch of a national shop chain has told customers it is closing but told staff talks with its landlord are ongoing. The Original Factory Shop (TOFS), based in Burnley, has been in a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) since July and is renegotiating leases with landlords after already closing 32 stores, about 10 per cent of its total. Campbeltown TOFS, at 1-3 Main Street, held a staff meeting last Friday and, according to the firm’s London-based public relations team, FTI Consulting, staff were told that under the CVA the landlord can terminate the lease. Eleanor Purdon from FTI said: ‘Store colleagues, two of whom are full-time and nine part-time, have been notified of the fact that we have been served notice. ‘We continue to be in negotiations with our landlord and we will be keeping them up to date with any progress. ‘TOFS doesn’t want the store to close. It believes it plays an important part in the local Campbeltown community and is trying to agree terms with the landlord to ensure the store can be retained. ‘The company has therefore been legally bound to engage despite this being a well-performing store.’ This information conflicts with an email flyer sent out from TOFS head-office about four hours before the statement was issued on Tuesday. The flyer states, in bold letters: ‘Unfortunately your Campbeltown Store is closing. ‘We are holding a closing down sale, 25 per cent off on fashion and footwear starting tomorrow (Wednesday).’ On Wednesday morning the store was busy with queues at the tills. According to the TOFS website the firm is: ‘Actively seeking more store sites throughout the UK, particularly in the South of England with tourist areas of prime interest. ‘Principal criteria are: Towns under 20,000 population - no minimum; any property, any condition considered, with or without retail consent, leasehold or freehold.’ The Courier tried to contact the landlords but was unsuccessful.