Pop-up shop latest victim of recession

Hawkin's Bazaar on Chuch Street, Blackpool
Hawkin's Bazaar on Chuch Street, Blackpool
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A ‘POP up’ Christmas shop will be closed earlier than was hoped after its parent company went into administration.

The owner of Hawkin’s Bazaar became the latest victim of the squeeze in consumer spending when it collapsed into administration, putting almost 400 jobs at risk.

Zolfo Cooper was appointed as administrator of Tobar, which owns Hawkin’s, as well as toys and children’s accessories retailer Letterbox, and its wholesale, mail order, and online businesses.

The group employs 380 full-time staff at its 65 permanent stores and at its head office in Beccles, Suffolk, which are now in jeopardy as the retailer seeks to sell all or part of the business.

The firm opened up a Christmas gift shop in Church Street, Blackpool, along with 54 others across the country.

But they will all be closed in the next few days as administrators battle to save the chain.

Town centre and Business Improvement District manager Eileen Ormand said she had hoped the store would be open longer.

She added: “They came in just for Christmas but it was a nice shop and one we hoped to have here until the end of January.

“The staff were aware they were taken on in the knowledge it was a short-term let, a temporary situation.

“I’ll be sorry to see it go – it was a nice shop, looked good and was doing very well.”

The main business will continue to be traded as a going concern by the administrator but every one of its 55 “pop-up” stores, which opened over Christmas and employ some 400 temporary staff, will be closed in coming days.

Hawkin’s was set up in 1973 and sells unusual toys, gifts, games, gadgets and curiosities. It describes its offer as “things you thought had gone forever, things you never even knew existed”.

A spokesman for Zolfo said: “The directors have worked very hard to turn the business around but have concluded that administration is the best route forward.”

Shoppers who have gift vouchers will still be able to exchange these for goods in stores as normal. People will be able to exchange unwanted items but will be refused refunds.

Hawkin’s collapse, following the crucial Christmas trading period, comes after D2 Jeans appointed administrators earlier this week.

There are fears that many more chains could fold in coming weeks as businesses are sunk by their quarterly rent demands from landlords amid tough trading conditions.

Lingerie chain La Senza, which has a large outlet in Blackpool’s Houndshill centre, originally set up by Dragons’ Den star Theo Paphitis, is also expected to appoint administrators in coming days, and there is speculation Blacks Leisure will meet a similar end after it put itself up for sale.