CHESTERFIELD MP Toby Perkins and Derbyshire Times Facebook readers are pleading with the Midland Co-operative Society to do a u-turn on its decision to close down its Chesterfield Fashion and Home department store.
Midland Co-operative announced the closure of the store on Elder Way last week with its warehouse and eight other stores across the region within the next six months.
Generations of residents have who have been left heartbroken by the news and fear its closure could badly affect the town have been organising a petition via Facebook and Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins is considering a campaign to keep the store open.
Mr Perkins said: “People across Chesterfield are desperately disappointed that such an iconic store that makes up such an important part of the town’s landscape is to close.
“The announced closure doesn’t give masses of room for optimism as it seems to have come out of the blue but I can’t help thinking that if there had been more of a sense of peril the store could have got more support over Christmas and more could have been done to save it.
“This is a setback and we need to see if anything can be salvaged.”
Mr Perkins met with Midlands Co-operative Society chief executive Martyn Cheatle, managers and staff at the store, on Thursday, January 24, to discuss how he may be able to help the firm, the Chesterfield store and its 117 affected staff who are at risk of losing their jobs.
The Midlands Co-operative Society put the planned closure of nine regional Fashion and Home stores down to major changes in the retailing sector and the ever increasing growth in online shopping.
Mr Cheatle said: “Unfortunately, efforts to sell the business as a going concern have proved unsuccessful and after much consideration it is with great regret that the board of directors has taken this very difficult decision to close the Fashion and Home Business.
“Please be assured this decision was not taken lightly and was necessary to protect the long-term future and growth of the Society as a whole.”
The Society is hoping to roll out a new food store programme and its Chesterfield food store will continue to trade. It is also making efforts to redeploy all 388 employees from all the nine affected stores and is in talks with unions.
Derbyshire Times’ readers inundated the DT’s Facebook site with their disappointment at the Chesterfield store closure, why they felt it came about and where it could leave the town.
Owen James said: “As far as (a) building landmark goes it will be a big shock to see the shutters finally pulled down.
“It’s not just sales staff effected (affected) by this it’s office staff. electricians, warehouse workers, cleaners, even taxi drivers in the rank outside.”
Laura Anne Batterham said: “A big loss to the town but for everyone being sad about it, when can you honestly say when you last visited the Co-op and did a shop?”
Rayray Fitzpatrick said: “I’ve often found them overpriced tbh (to be honest), and I haven’t bought anything myself in there for about three years.”
Sophie Redman said: “Will seriously affect footfall that end of town. I wonder how the council will fix the problem as it is meant to be right next to the proposed Northern Gateway development.”
Clare Louise Billam said; “I feel sad for the people that will be affected but I have to agree it has been left in the past. I find it very old-fashioned...”
Dominic Diiorio said: “I know it’s too late now but it needed to move with the times. When was the last time it was revamped. refreshed etc.”