End of an era

Final days: The closing down sales are under way at TJ Hughes which closes next Wednesday with the loss of 50 jobs.                                               Picture: Steve Taylor
Final days: The closing down sales are under way at TJ Hughes which closes next Wednesday with the loss of 50 jobs. Picture: Steve Taylor

ONE of Doncaster’s biggest department stores will cease trading next week.

Administrators say the TJ Hughes store,in St Sepulchre Gate, will close its doors for the final time on August 31 after the parent company went into administration. It will mean the 50 remaining staff will lose their jobs and face the prospect of seeking new employment.

The last five TJ Hughes stores which were still trading in administration will all close next week.

Administrator Ernst & Young said it had been unable to find a buyer for the remaining shops, and closing down sales had begun before the last day of trading on Wednesday.

The other unsold stores are situated in Bradford, Sunderland, Lichfield and Wrexham, and a total of 263 jobs will be lost when they close.

The business was placed into administration by its board on June 30, after suffering continued trading losses.

TJ Hughes had debts of £433.5m, with only a handful of secured creditors likely to receive money they are owed.

The firm had 57 stores around the UK and employed 3,497 staff.

When the final stores close next week, only six of the original portfolio will remain after a £1.65m takeover by Speke-based retailer and importer Benross Group rescued the sites and jobs.

Benross managing director Anil Juneja bought the stores, including the flagship site in Liverpool, and the TJ’s brand, as part of a plan to revive the chain’s name.

Mr Juneja’s other stores are in Sheffield, Eastbourne, Glasgow, Widnes and Newcastle.

Joint administrator Tom Jack said: “A purchaser for the remaining stores was not found, and regrettably we have had to schedule these final store closures.

“We are extremely grateful to the employees and management at all the group’s stores for their loyalty and support during this very difficult time.”

The closure of the Doncaster store could leave a sad legacy in the town centre.

It is such a large building that it may be difficult for the premises to be re-opened as a single shopping outlet.

The store - one of the few Art Deco styled buildings remaining in the town centre following the demolition of the Odeon Cinema last year - was originally the Co-operative department store.

It closed after trading difficulties and the premises were empty for some time before TJ Hughes took it over.