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Christmas woe for staff as shoe shop chain collapses

Two shoe shops in Co Tyrone and east Belfast will close this weekend with the loss of nearly 20 jobs just ahead of Christmas.

The Barratts and Priceless shoe chain collapsed into administration earlier this month, after unseasonably mild weather further exacerbated already difficult trading conditions.

Its Priceless store in Strabane and Barratts in Connswater Shopping Centre are among 18 to close on Friday across the UK and Ireland, resulting in the loss of 127 jobs, with a further 60 posts at the Bradford head office to go.

The Barratts store in Connswater employs 13 people, while the Strabane branch of Priceless has five members of staff.

Administrator Deloitte said it will continue to trade the remaining 173 stores as it seeks a buyer for all or parts of the business as a going concern.

There had been around 3,840 staff working in 191 stores and 371 concessions across the UK.

Until the announcement, the chains had nine shops each in locations like Belfast, Londonderry and Ballymena.

Michael Ziff, chairman of Barratts Priceless parent company, Stylo, bought 160 shops from Deloitte after the chains were put into administration for the first time in 2009.

At the time, Deloitte closed 220 stores, but Mr Ziff was able to safeguard around 3,000 jobs.

Barratts had revenues of £218m in the 18 months to July 31, 2010 and a pre-tax profit of £6.1m.

Deloitte restructuring partner Daniel Butters said Barratts and Priceless Shoes have faced a downturn in trading in recent times.


Jobs lost as Barratts and Priceless chain goes into administration