A RETAIL merry-go-round in South Tyneside’s main shopping thoroughfare has seen one business closing its doors for good and another moving into bigger premises.
King Street in South Shields has been hit by troubled times in recent years, with several businesses leaving town, and now another outlet is calling it a day.
Household goods company Semichem is due to close today, with the loss of seven jobs, after trading in the street for four and a half years.
There is better news further along the street, however, as home furnishings supplier the Yorkshire Linen Company is moving a short distance to larger premises.
Its six staff are relocating to the former Bay Biscuit Company shop, two doors along, next Saturday.
Area manager Deborah Mann said: “The new premises has undergone a total revamp, and we’ve gone for something of an image change, with different colours in the shop.
“We have been looking for larger premises, and this is ideal.
“We’ll just be closed for the week, and our customers can expect the same high level of service and the right products at the right price.”
Semichem has announced it is to close six stores over the next few months, resulting in about 90 job losses, and the King Street outlet is one of those facing the axe. John Brodie, chief executive officer of Scotmid Co-operative, Semichem’s owner, said: “Companies across the UK have been facing some of the most challenging times in a generation, with some organisations putting unprofitable parts of their business into administration.
“In contrast, Scotmid has fought to keep a number of unprofitable Semichem stores open by negotiating more favourable lease deals with landlords.
“This year will see a significant proportion of the Semichem estate with lease breaks, and this gives us a number of options in deciding the future of certain stores.
“If landlords can help with more favourable lease deals, then stores which are currently unprofitable can be kept open.
“While we are a co-operative, we are also a commercial organisation, which, at times, has to make difficult but necessary decisions.
“By acting now, we can protect the majority of our workforce, while still looking at future opportunities to grow.
“All staff have been informed, and discussions are currently under way to determine if there are opportunities for employees within other areas of our business who have been impacted by these decisions.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank our staff and customers for supporting us throughout these challenging times.”