MORE than 60 shop workers are to lose their jobs as Sheffield department store TJ Hughes is ‘forced’ to close its city centre store.
Staff at the retailer, at the junction of High Street and Arundel Gate, have been told it will close on November 17.
The news comes only a year after the store was saved from the axe last summer.
Bosses say the building’s landlord Standard Life wants to redevelop the site - a cornerstone of city centre shopping for 15 years – and so is not renewing the lease.
But they have vowed to do all they can to keep a presence for TJ Hughes in Sheffield, with hopes to relocate to a smaller shop before November 17, and then to a full-size outlet next year.
Chris McKeown, sales director, told The Star: “I cannot stress how disappointed we are about having to leave this building - it is the last thing we want to do.
“It is really important the people of Sheffield understand we are going to do our best to stay in Sheffield city centre.”
Standard Life declined to comment.
Negotiations had been continuing for about a year, said Mr McKeown, since a new buyer was found for the store and around 140 jobs were saved.
The Sheffield branch was one of only six sold to Lewis’ Home Retail - also based in Liverpool - last August.
Another 53 TJ Hughes shops across the country, including the branch in Doncaster, closed their doors for good.
Now, of 109 full-time and part-time staff in Sheffield, around 40 will hopefully be saved to work at a smaller store. The rest may be able to reapply for jobs at any larger site opening next year.
Mr McKeown could not confirm which alternative sites were being considered in the city centre.
He added: “It is a massive shame. We’ve been working hard to stay in Sheffield since we found out about this and we are still working hard to stay in Sheffield.
“We do not want to leave Sheffield - as a city it’s been very good to us.
“There will be redundancies because the site we can possibly have this year is much smaller, and we will probably save around 37 to 40 jobs initially.
“The landlord wants this building to be redeveloped - we can’t stop them doing that.
“We desperately want to stay in it but we’re being forced into this.”