Staff lose jobs as shoe shop closes

Barratts shoe shop in Houndshill has closed down.
Barratts shoe shop in Houndshill has closed down.
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Staff at a town centre shoe store have lost their jobs days before Christmas after its parent company went into administration.

The manager and staff at Barratts in the Houndshill centre were told on Monday their branch would close following a second spell in administration in the past two years.

Administrators Deloitte announced 13 Priceless and Barratts stores would close before Christmas, resulting in the loss of 127 jobs, with a further 60 staff members in the head office in Bradford also made redundant.

Houndshill manager John Holt said he was devastated to see one of the centre’s longest-serving tenants go.

He added: “It is very sad. They have been in the centre a long, long time.

“It’s a family-run company that got into bad times.

“We’ve done our best to keep them in the centre, but unfortunately it’s come to an end.

“It is a very bad time to close – they had the whole Christmas period to try to make a killing.

“They announced a sale a couple of weeks ago. We’re sad to see them go.”

Blackpool town centre and business improvement district manager Eileen Ormand said she was saddened to see the demise of such a big name business.

She added: “It’s really, really scary to lose such a big name from the town centre.

“I’m devastated for the families of the workers and the workers losing a job at this time of year.

“We strive so hard to bring in national names and destination shops to attract visitors – it’s a real shame.”

A note left by staff on the stripped-out shop window reads: “To all our customers. Thank you for your support and custom over the years. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Brin and the girls.”

Branches of the store are also being closed in Connswater, Kilmarnock, Darlington and Cardiff.

The 13 Priceless branded sister stores to close are in Croydon, Durham, Oldham, Strabane, Crossgates, Kettering, Carlow, Donaghmede, Torquay, Weymouth, Kings Lynn, Bexhill on Sea, and Erdington.

The shoe chain collapsed into administration on December 8 after unseasonably mild weather – putting customers off buying new winter lines – further exacerbating already difficult trading conditions.

The firm went into administration in early 2009 but was saved in a buy-back deal by owners the Ziff family who owned the firm since 1935.

The slimmed-down business secured 3,000 jobs but the firm struggled to cope with competition against discount brands and supermarkets offering cheap alternatives.

Administrator Deloitte said Barratts it will continue to trade the remaining 173 stores as it seeks a buyer for all or parts.