South Shields' Greenwoods store saved after takeover deal

South Shields' Greenwoods store
South Shields' Greenwoods store

South Shields' Greenwoods store has been saved.

The branch in King Street is to remain open, along with branches in Sunderland and Darlington, after administrators found a buyer for the national firm.

But stores across the North East - including Durham, Newcastle, Bishop Auckland and Middlesbrough - are to close.

The future of the firm's 60-plus stores nationwide has been under threat since the company called in administrators Deloitte early last month.

At the time, administrators said they were hopeful of finding a buyer and would be continuing to operate the business as a going concern.

Now the business has been sold to Versatile International Trading Limited.

The sale will see 40 retail stores, the central warehouse and head office functions transferring to the buyer and will protect the jobs of 181 employees.

The remaining 22 stores will close immediately, resulting in 88 redundancies. This follows the prior closure of two unstaffed concessions and one store (Rugby) at an earlier stage of the administration.

Administrator Adrian Berry said the deal had been the best one available in terms of safeguarding the long-term future of staff jobs and the Greenwoods brand : "This sale represents the best outcome for the business, which has been trading in administration for over six weeks.

"A significant proportion of the employees now have their jobs protected and we would like to thank all of them for their support during this difficult period."

Mr Berry and Clare Boardman were appointed joint administrators on September 6, at which point the company was operating from 63 stores and two concessions throughout the UK, as well as its head office and warehouse located in Bradford, West Yorkshire.

The firm employed 318 people, of whom 292 worked in stores, 15 at the head office and 11 in the warehouse.

"This is a challenging time for the UK retail sector, which has affected the company," said Mr Berry.