Famous Sheffield department store Atkinsons forced to close for first time in 148-year history

A famous Sheffield department store which survived the Blitz, despite taking a direct hit, has been forced to close temporarily by coronavirus.

Monday, 23rd March 2020, 1:37 pm
Updated Monday, 23rd March 2020, 1:38 pm

Atkinsons, on The Moor, has been a fixture in the city centre for nearly 150 years and even after being flattened by the Luftwaffe in 1940 managed to keep trading by setting up a temporary base at a nearby church.

But managing director Nicholas Atkinson today announced that COVID-19 had managed what German bombs never could and forced it to close – albeit temporarily – to protect the health and safety of its customers and staff.

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Atkinsons department store in Sheffield, which has been trading since 1872

“Sadly, our store on The Moor is temporarily closing after 148 years of trading,” he said.

“These are unprecedented times for us all. To all our valued customers, thank you for your continued loyalty and support.

“Due to the unfolding situation with the coronavirus, we are very sad to announce that we will have to temporarily close our store from the end of today, Monday, March 23. This difficult decision has been taken to protect the health and safety of our customers and staff.”

He added that the store would reopen ‘when the time is right’, and signed off ‘stay safe and look after your loved ones’.

Atkinsons was founded by John Atkinson, who worked for Cole Brothers before opening his own drapery store in what is now The Moor in 1872.

The store, which has become a Sheffield institution, even had an in-house zoo during the 1930s, from which a crocodile once escaped before being found dead at the bottom of a lift shaft.