Double blow as two Newry retailers go under

January 14, 2013

By Christine Keighery

Two Newry stores have become the first retail casualties of 2013. Jessops and fashion retailer Hoi Polloi both closed their doors permanently at close of trading on Friday, bringing fresh misery on the jobs front to local people employed by the beleaguered firms.

Administrators were appointed to The Jessop Group Limited last Wednesday, at the request of the directors.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) announced that the company had been hit by increasing competition from supermarkets and internet retailers, which had affected its core marketplace, with camera chain suffering a significant decline in 2012, which was forecast to continue until 2013.

Closures of some stores was said to be “inevitable” but Friday saw a further announcement from PwC stating that talks with suppliers had broken down and all Jessops stores would close with immediate effect.  The Buttercrane branch of Jessops was one of three Northern Ireland stores which closed, resulting in the loss of 30 jobs province-wide.

Fashion retailer Hoi Polloi, also trading in the Buttercrane Shopping Centre in Newry, did not publicly announce its closure so it is not clear if staff were aware of their imminent fate before Friday.

A statement from the Buttercrane Centre on Saturday expressed disappointment at the closures and extended sympathy to all staff affected.

“We regret to report that Hoi Polloi and Jessops have closed. Both brands will close across the UK. Our sympathies are with the young staff who lose their jobs.  Some Jessops people have been with the company for ten years.

“Please join us in wishing them well for the future and, where possible, support the local economy by choosing to shop locally.”

Jessops and Hoi Polloi are the latest victims of the recession which, locally, has seen a number of retail companies falling into administration in the last year, including Clinton Cards and Game Group.