Another blow to South Shields’ King Street as retailer puts up ‘closing down’ signs

Store Twenty One opened in King Street in 2010.

Store Twenty One opened in King Street in 2010.

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South Shields is set to lose another retailer after ‘closing down’ signs were placed in the windows of Store Twenty One.

The fashion firm opened its doors in King Street six years ago, moving into the former Woolworths premises.

Store Twenty One opened in King Street in 2010.

Store Twenty One opened in King Street in 2010.

The store’s imminent closure is related to the retailer’s ongoing bid to avoid administration.

Yesterday, it was announced that it had proposed a restructure, with a company voluntary arrangement in place for its 202 stores across the UK.

Workers at the Store Twenty One shop in Jarrow were staying tight-lipped over the troubled retail firm’s future.

Staff at the store, based in the Viking Shopping Centre, said they were unable to discuss plans for the store.

Closing down signs have not been on display at that store, although half-price sale on items was being heavily promoted.

A statement from AlixPartners, which is working with the company, said: “Peter Saville, Ryan Grant and Anne O’Keefe, of leading global business-advisory firm AlixPartners Services UK LLP (AlixPartners), were today appointed Nominees of a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) relating to Grabal Alok (UK) Ltd which operates 202 Store Twenty One outlets across the UK.

“Additionally, Peter Saville, Ryan Grant and Catherine Williamson were appointed Joint Administrators over Be-Wise, and Peter Saville, Ryan Grant and Anne O’Keefe were appointed Joint Administrators over QS Plc, both companies are property subsidiaries of the Store Twenty One group.

“Both developments follow an in depth review of the Store Twenty One group’s operating model and an analysis of the restructuring options available to it as the business seeks to remain competitive in today’s challenging retail environment.”

Peter Saville said: “We have been working closely with the directors of Store Twenty One for a number of weeks to consider options for the business and to chart a course for future success.

“After careful consideration the directors have taken the decisions as these represent the best option in terms of preserving jobs and value within the group.

“Our focus now is on putting the restructuring plan into action by working closely with the management team and all other stakeholders in order to position the business to succeed in what is clearly an extremely competitive UK retail environment.”

The loss of Store Twenty One will be the latest blow to King Street, which has suffered a spate of closures in recent years.

A South Tyneside Council spokesperson said: “It is always disappointing when a business leaves the high street and we hope that the property is re-let as soon as possible by its owners.

“It is important to note this is a national issue and it will be a blow for town and city centres across the country, not to mention the staff affected.

“Here in South Shields, we are doing all we can to make the Town Centre an attractive place for business.

“The ongoing 365 regeneration project will help to increase footfall among shoppers and visitors as we expand our offer beyond just retail to leisure and recreation.”