Job losses as Peacocks closes store in the arc

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FIFTEEN jobs have been axed following the closure of a discount clothes shop in Bury St Edmunds.

Staff at Peacocks, in the arc shopping centre, were told to shut the store on Wednesday afternoon after the brand was sold to Edinburgh Woollen Mill.

As part of the deal secured by administrators KPMG, 224 Peacock stores were closed ‘with immediate effect’ resulting in 3,100 redundancies.

However, 388 of the chain’s shops including a store in Stowmarket with 14 staff were acquired – saving a total of 6,000 jobs.

Business leaders in Bury have lamented the demise of another high street shop in the town centre following the recent loss of Hawkin’s Bazaar and Dorothy Perkins.

Andrew Denny, chairman of Bury Chamber of Commerce, said: “It’s very sad as it was a nice shop. I feel sorry for the people who were employed there. It reinforces what we have been saying for some time that many retailers are finding it difficult.”

He cited figures released by Springboard Research, which measures retail performance and found that 9.4 per cent of ground floor units in Bury are vacant as of January 2012. This compares with 9.3 per cent in the East of England and 11.1 per cent nationally.

Mr Denny added: “It just proves that no town is immune from recession. We have seen a number of shop closures in Bury in recent months.”

Chris Laverty, joint administrator and restructuring partner at KPMG, said the Peacocks closures and redundancies were ‘unfortunate’.

He said: “Like many other retailers, Peacocks suffered from a decline in consumer spending due to the tough economic conditions and this, combined with a surplus of stores and unsustainable capital structure led to the business becoming financially unviable.

“However, a strong brand presence and loyal customer following meant that Peacocks attracted a great deal of interest from both trade and private equity bidders, leading to the successful sale.

“I thank the management team and staff for their continued assistance in very difficult circumstances.”