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Harry Corry boss denies that stores to close and insists its 580 jobs are safe

By John Mulgrew

Published 14/05/2015

Not closing: A Harry Corry shop
Not closing: A Harry Corry shop

Harry Corry will not shut any of its stores in the near future and its 580 staff are safe its boss has said following reports the retailer was closing several outlets.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, William Corry - who is a joint director of the soft furnishings retail giant and son of the late founder - said after sorting out its finances, no stores would be shut.

He said a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) had been accepted by creditors, which allows the firm to pay them over a fixed period if enough agree.

Mr Corry said as a result of the CVA the company had "renegotiated rents" which can now "be sustained".

He poured cold water on claims as many as eight of its 50 stores were to close.

The initial claims were outlined in a sales brochure for the Valley Retail Park in Newtownabbey, where Harry Corry has a store.

It had claimed the "company is seeking to close eight of its 50 stores".

Mr Corry told the Belfast Telegraph that "no stores are closing".

"We needed 75% support of our creditors and we got 99%. No stores are closing, all are being kept open," he said.

"All 580 jobs are safe and all creditors are safe, and have been paid in full.

"We have renegotiated our rents with the landlords.

"We are paying rents which can be sustained - the landlords have come and supported us.

"As a result of this (the CVA) the business is safe, all jobs are safe and we will make money from these rents."

As for any store closures in the future, he said it "would be unlikely".

Mr Corry is a director of the company along with his brother John and sister Anne Hill.

The company Harry Corry Ltd posted losses of more than £491,000 for the year ending February 2014.

It turned over more than £38m for the same period.

One of Northern Ireland's best known family firms, it was established by the late Harry Corry, who set up shops in 1971 after initially starting life in the markets in Belfast.

It operates 50 stores across the UK and Ireland - with 17 in Northern Ireland, 22 in the Republic and a further 11 in Scotland.

Harry Corry's first shops were on the Newtownards Road, Shankill Road, in Sandy Row and on Royal Avenue.

Mr Corry died in 2009 following a short illness, aged 82.

The Belfast man attended Royal Belfast Academical Institution before starting work for his father as a manufacturer's agent.

Over the past five decades the soft furnishings retailer has become a household name and a stalwart of retail here.

During the Troubles its stores were targeted in bomb and incendiary attacks - with some outlets being destroyed twice.

It was Harry Corry's policy to always rebuild and reopen the outlets.

Belfast Telegraph

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