Belfast Telegraph

Job fears as Pumpkin Patch goes into administration

By Clare Weir

Five jobs at a Pumpkin Patch in Belfast may be at risk after the children’s clothing chain went into administration.

The Victoria Square shop was operating as normal yesterday but 60 members of staff have already been made redundant and five of the chain’s 36 UK stores have been closed.

Altogether it is estimated that around 400 jobs are under threat.

The Reading-based UK arm of the New Zealand firm joins a growing list of retailers which have folded since Christmas, with La Senza, Peacocks and Past Times all having gone into administration since the start of the year.

Despite the closure of stores in England the administrators pointed out that overseas and online operations would not be affected.

Meanwhile, the administrators of Peacocks have made 249 head office staff redundant in the first job losses since the clothing retailer collapsed.

Little over a year ago, Peacocks launched the firm's largest Irish store in Belfast, one of 24 in Northern Ireland.

No stores or jobs in Northern Ireland have been affected as yet by the move.

The administration of Peacocks is the biggest retail failure since the collapse of Woolworths in December 2008, which left 27,000 employees out of work.

KPMG said it would keep on the remaining 266 employees at the Cardiff offices and continue to run Peacocks' 563 stores and 48 concessions as it seeks a buyer.

Peacocks and its parent company The Peacock Group collapsed into administration yesterday, putting 9,600 jobs in s jeopardy.

Bonmarche, also owned by The Peacock Group, has not yet entered administration but filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators on Monday.

Insolvency specialist Begbies Traynor revealed a 26% rise in retailers reporting that they were critically distressed in the final quarter of 2011.

It warned that more were to come with small regional players most at risk.

Belfast Telegraph