SHOPPERS in Sheffield have spoken of their sadness at TJ Hughes going into administration - as the firm staged a fire sale in its city centre department store to clear stock at bargain prices.
The company, which owns a flagship store on the corner of High Street and Arundel Gate, called in administrators nearly two weeks ago.
TJ Hughes, which made losses of over £10m last year, is selling off its stock in case a buyer cannot be found for its 57 stores across the country.
Joyce Pyke, 83, from Gleadless, told The Star she shops at TJ Hughes every day.
“I always come in here,” she said. “I’m very sad it’s gone into administration, for the simple reason that I love to come and have a walk round.
“If I haven’t had lunch I come in here to the little restaurant and have a coffee and a cake.
“It’s lovely. You can walk around and nobody stops you saying, ‘Can I help you?’. I like that.
“I buy things for my grandchildren in here.”
Kath Walsh, from Gleadless, had called into the Sheffield branch to pick up some reduced items, and said the potential closure was “disgusting”.
“There’s not going to be anywhere else to shop,” she said. “It’d be a shame if it went, it’s a very good shop. I like the homewares.”
Lorraine Myers, aged 61, had spent £56 on ladieswear with her husband Alan, 64, a retired engineer.
“It’s disappointing,” said Lorraine, from Swallownest.
“In general shops are closing, though. If I come to town I always tend to have a look in here, and I’ve bought lots of things from TJ Hughes.”
Alan added: “The city centre’s been running down for quite some time. Everyone goes to Meadowhall now.”
Jill Clements, 59, from Darnall, said: “It’s sad but it’s just the way things are going now. TJ Hughes is good because you can get things that are cheap - it’s nice stuff that’s not too expensive.”
Liverpool-based TJ Hughes employs 4,000 people nationwide, including hundreds in Sheffield and Doncaster.
Union representatives have said no decision has yet been taken about a closure, after meeting with administrators Tom Jack and Simon Allport, of insolvency specialists Ernst and Young.
Mr Jack said they have spoken to more than 30 companies interested in buying the stores.
Signs have appeared in stores telling customers that no new orders are being taken, while goods bought before administrators were appointed can only be exchanged on like-for-like items.