Fire sale at crisis-hit TJ Hughes

T J Hughes,Sheffield

T J Hughes,Sheffield

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ADMINISTRATORS at crisis-hit department store TJ Hughes have announced plans for an immediate fire sale to reduce stock at the chain - which includes a flagship store in Sheffield.

The company, which went into administration a week ago, has appointed a consultancy firm to help trade stock in case a buyer cannot be found for the group’s 57 shops.

Administrators Tom Jack and Simon Allport, of insolvency specialists Ernst & Young, said they had spoken to more than 30 companies interested in buying the stores.

They have brought in independent consultants GA Europe to help sell the company’s stock.

Mr Jack said: “We are already in discussions with over 30 interested parties and encouraged by the strong level of interest in the business and its portfolio of 57 stores.

“However, there are significant stock levels and we therefore must ensure we are also pursuing a strategy to trade this stock through the business, in case we cannot find buyers for all of the company’s stores and employees.

“Promotional activity will therefore commence immediately in all TJ Hughes stores.”

The news will raise fears for the 4,000 staff employed across the business, including hundreds in Sheffield and Doncaster. Shop workers’ union representatives, who have met with the TJ Hughes administrators, emphasised no decision has yet been taken about a closure.

But they said the administrators were closely examining the trading position of each individual TJ Hughes store - raising the prospect of a break-up of the business and the sale of individual stores.

Signs have appeared in stores telling customers the company is no longer taking new orders. The signs read: “At present, no new customer orders can be placed for any goods to be ordered to store or home delivery, whether in stock or not.”

Goods bought before administrators were appointed can be exchanged on like-for-like items but cannot be refunded.

Retailers which have collapsed in the last couple of weeks include Sheffield-founded retailer Thorntons, womenswear group Jane Norman, furnishing chain Habitat and Homeform, the company behind Moben Kitchens and Dolphin Bathrooms.

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