59 jobs at risk as Co-op stores in Coalville and Wigston face closure
Another 59 Leicestershire shop jobs have been put in jeopardy today after the closure of two department stores was announced.
Midlands Co-op said it planned to shut its fashion and homeware outlets in Bell Street, Wigston and Belvoir Road, Coalville.
The organisation is looking to close nine of its department stores across the Midlands, putting a total of 388 jobs at risk.
Managers said they have begun a 90-day consultation with affected staff. There are 47 employees at the Wigston store and 12 in Coalville.
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A spokeswoman said it was hoped the Wigston site could be put to another use by the Midlands Co-op. She said there were no plans to close the post office inside the Wigston store.
Today's announcement comes after dozens of retail jobs in the county were put at risk last week after entertainment chain HMV and DVD rental group Blockbuster went into administration.
Administrators today said they will close the Blockbuster store in Beaumont Leys, Leicester in the next few weeks with the loss of about five jobs.
Earlier this month Leicester-based camera chain Jessops closed all of its 187 stores with the loss of about 1,500 jobs, including 177 in the county.
Martyn Cheatle, Midlands Co-op chief executive, said: "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 and home business.
"While our other businesses have flourished, the society has been incurring substantial losses from the fashion and 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 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 closures do not affect the Co-op department store in Hinckley, which is run by the Heart of England Co-op Society. The Co-op food stores in South Wigston and Coalville are also unaffected by the announcement.