MIDLANDS Co-operative Society has confirmed that it is planning to close its Fashion & Home business including its Chesterfield department store and warehouse branch.
Chief executive Martyn Cheatle, of Midlands Co-operative, explained that major changes in the retailing sector and the ever increasing growth in online shopping over recent years have created significant and fundamental challenges for the Society’s Fashion & Home business.
The business closure could affect 388 store-based employees across the company although efforts are expected to redeploy staff.
Mr Cheatle said: “Whilst our other businesses have flourished, the Society has been incurring substantial losses from the Fashion & Home operation for more than a decade and in spite of sustained efforts to improve performance, the latest financial projections indicate a further decline with increasing losses in future years.
“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 & 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.
“A plan has been put in place for a phased closure of nine Fashion & Home stores over the next six months.
“This could potentially affect some 388 store-based employees, although every effort will be made to redeploy employees into other business areas and it is anticipated that the Society’s ambitious new food store development programme will help facilitate this.”
The Society is exploring viable change of use options for the Fashion & Home sites and it aims to fully investigate redeployment opportunities in surrounding business units and Society operations. It is also in full consultations with all affected staff and trade unions.
All customer orders and gift vouchers will be honoured, according to the Society and customer enquires will continue to be handled by staff at its Fashion & Home stores during the phased closure.
In addition, staff in the Society’s local food stores will be able to provide ongoing customer service or customers can contact the Society’s Customer Service team at its Head Office in Lichfield.
Midlands Co-operative Society’s Fashion & Home business employs 388 staff in the following locations, Chesterfield (Department Store, Warehouse), Coalville (Department Store), Derby (Department Store), Ilkeston (Department Store), Long Eaton (Bed Centre), Stafford (Department Store), West Bridgford (Fashion & Home Store), Wigston (Department Store) and Raunds (Home Store).
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