Jobs in jeopardy as Best Buy pulls out

AN ELECTRONICS company that opened its first Yorkshire store at Parkgate in June this year, is now set to close.

Up to 100 jobs will be placed at risk following the shock announcement on Monday.

Best Buy had a big blast opening at Parkgate, with a free concert featuring Alexis Jordan on June 11.

But this week Parkgate Shopping’s management team were stunned to hear of its impending shut-down.

A Parkgate Shopping spokesman said: “We understood the store to be doing well, so were both shocked and surprised to be told it is to close after only five months”.

Best Buy Europe, comprising Best Buy and Carphone Warehouse, has said that all of its 11 UK Best Buy stores will go by the end of this year, but it is hoped that most employees will be redeployed.

A company spokesman said: “This is due mainly to the economic climate. The company expected a tough challenge but despite positive customer research the market is so squeezed that no-one could have pre

dicted beforehand what would happen”.

Business will continue as usual during the 90-day consultation that has now begun, he added, and the company will focus its attention on its Carphone Warehouse operations, and new ‘Wireless World’ stores.

Andrew Harrison, CEO of Best Buy Europe said: “We are very proud of our Best Buy team members. They have been exceptionally committed and have delivered fantastic customer service.

“Our immediate focus is on ensuring that they are offered new opportunities”.

The disappointment of job losses for the area was coupled this week by new investment and opportunities for Parkgate.

Asda Living will open its doors tomorrow (October 11), and there is movement towards the potential siting of a new Frankie and Benny’s American-style restaurant.

The plans for the eatery were turned down originally by Rotherham Council in the summer, then the Frankie and Benny’s franchise came back with an accompanying offer of £130,000 to invest in Rotherham town centre.

This was in answer to previous criticism from the Council that trade would be directed away from Rotherham’s centre to Parkgate.

Around 30 jobs could result from a positive response from the Council to the Restaurant Group’s proposal for a Frankie and Benny’s. And the would-be developers have stated that a Parkgate opening would not preclude them from opening another outlet at Rotherham in the future.

Should the bid for a £130,000 Section 106 agreement from retail park owners British Land prove successful, the money could be spent on parking and travel initiatives for the town centre, business support and promotional projects. Any unspent cash would be reimbursed after five years. A Rotherham Council spokesman said this week that they were waiting for legal documentation to enable them to progress a planning application.