Some 134 retail jobs have been secured this morning after the administrators of failed department store group TJ Hughes announced that they have sold another two of the company’s stores to Lewis’s Home Retail.
The outlets in Widnes and Newcastle, which employ 58 and 76 members of staff respectively, have been saved from closure following the deal completed by professional services firm Ernst & Young (E&Y).
Four TJ Hughes stores were purchased by Lewis’s Home Retail, owned by The Benross Group, earlier this month, saving around 450 jobs in the process, although E&Y announced last week that more than 1,000 staff will be losing their jobs as 22 stores close over the next four days.
Reflecting on the latest sale, Joint Administrator at E&Y Tom Jack said “We are delighted to have completed another deal, which protects further jobs across the north and brings the total number of jobs saved to 576.”
It is a different story for those working at TJ Hughes in Shrewsbury, which trades for the final time today, while the retailer’s stores in Birkenhead, Dumfries, Dundee, Rochdale and Wolverhampton are due to close tomorrow and a further 15 will shut up shop over the weekend.
Promotional activity continues at the unsold stores and the administrators claim that they continue to seek a sale of the company’s remaining business and assets as a going concern but it appears that time has already run out to save many of the jobs connected to the retailer.
Around 100 employees were made redundant by the decision last month to close its distribution centre in Liverpool, the home of TJ Hughes, and before the retailer fell it employed over 4,000 people across the country.
Commenting on the latest acquisitions, Managing Director for The Benross Group Anil Juneja said: “Both stores have a solid management structure in place and are well-loved by the local community.
“Widnes is ideally situated to continue TJ Hughes’ reach in the North West, while the Newcastle store has a prominent city centre position. Both stores have strong growth potential. As with our previous four acquisitions, we’re committed to safeguarding local jobs and rejuvenating the stores – both inside and out.”