Family-run Shields store is latest to close

END OF AN ERA ... Thompsons TV store in King Street is set to close.
END OF AN ERA ... Thompsons TV store in King Street is set to close.

A FAMILY-run South Tyneside electrical business, established in 1930, is closing up shop, it has been announced.

Thompsons TV in King Street will be no more by the end of the month.

Today the company’s managing director Andrew Allinson said the decision has been taken to avoid the “ignominy of going into administration”.

It’s another blow to the town’s main shopping thoroughfare. And because of its long ties within the borough, the closure of Thompsons TV is a particularly bitter blow.

The firm, which closed another premises at The Nook in South Shields late last year, has always been known for its high standard of customer service.

The workshop behind Fowler Street will remain to look after its rental customers and to sort out any warranty issues.

Mr Allinson, grandson of one of the founding brothers, explained the difficulties the company has faced in recent years.

He said: “The recession is a final perfect storm after years of increasing red tape, increased competition and price erosion.

“We’ve been squeezed by over regulation, unrealistic rates demands, National Minimum Wage increases, and unfair competition from charities selling new electrical goods using voluntary staff and discounted or no rates - not to mention the rise of 24-hour supermarkets and the internet.

“With high streets falling into disuse and major retailers going bust, it was clear the time had come for a structured withdrawal from retailing – rather this than suffer the ignominy of going into administration with unpaid debts further down the line.

“I would like to thank our staff and customers for their support and loyalty over the many, many years – some of whom knew my father and grandfather.

“I look forward to looking after those rental customers that have decided to stay with us.”

In 1930, three brothers – Jim, Harry and Tommy Thompson – opened a wireless shop in Church Street, South Shields.

Two years later, the shop moved to Fowler Street, where the company still has a workshop. A second shop was opened at The Nook in 1957.

In 1988, business began at the shop in King Street.

Coun John Anglin, who represents the Beacon and Bents ward for Labour, said: “This is really sad, especially for a long-established family business.

Twitter: @shieldsgazpaul