A South Tyneside store is set to close its doors for the last time this weekend.
The British Home Stores (BHS) shop, in Waterloo Square, South Shields, has been announced as one of the first 20 stores in the fashion chain to close.
We are saddened to hear the administrators for BHS have announced they are closing 20 stores, which will impact around 600 staffDave Gill
It will stop trading on Saturday, which comes just over a month after it was revealed BHS was to disappear from Britain’s high streets.
Up to 11,000 jobs are to go nationwide as a result of its collapse, after administrators failed to find a buyer for the retailer.
Administrator Duff & Phelps is now starting the process of winding down BHS’s 163 stores, with South Shields one of the first to go.
Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw has expressed its deep sadness at the news.
The union has more than 440,000 members, most of whom work in the retail sector.
Its national officer, Dave Gill, said: “We are saddened to hear the administrators for BHS have announced they are closing 20 stores, which will impact on around 600 staff.
“We hope that other retailers, including Sir Phillip Green’s Arcadia group, will offer employment to these experienced, dedicated and loyal staff, who suddenly find themselves unemployed.
“We believe there is hope for the remaining stores, with the administrators continuing to seek buyers, and we are still waiting to hear the details of Sir Phillip’s offer to ‘sort’ the pension scheme.
“In the meantime, we are providing the support, advice and representation our members require at this difficult time.”
Among the stores which are remaining open – for the time being at least – are the BHS shops in Sunderland, the MetroCentre and Durham.
Hartlepool’s outlet, though, is one of those set to close on Saturday.
Also shutting the doors for the last time will be the BHS stores at St Helens, Southport, Warrington, Slough, Truro, Stirling, Lisburn (outskirts of Belfast), High Wycombe, Ashford (Kent), Clydebank, Preston, Yeovil, Basildon, Peterborough, Newport, Stratford-upon-Avon, Wigan and Burton-on-Trent.
When BHS’s imminent closure was revealed, Duff & Phelps said that 8,000 permanent jobs were likely to be lost across the country, and another 3,000 not directly employed by BHS are also at risk.
Hopes had been raised that last-ditch bids from former Mothercare boss Greg Tufnell and Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct could rescue the stricken retailer, but they ultimately fell short.
The stores which remain are in close-down sale mode.