Belfast Telegraph

188 Northern Ireland jobs axed as Poundworld to disappear from the high street

By Gareth Cross

Almost 200 employees at 12 Poundworld stores here are to lose their jobs.

The news came as retail giant Marks & Spencer also confirmed that it was closing its store at Lisburn's Bow Street Mall.

Deloitte, which was appointed joint administrator to Poundworld last month, announced yesterday that all the budget retailers' branches in the UK will shut.

That affects 188 employees in Northern Ireland.

The stores in Londonderry, Omagh, Armagh and Cookstown will close at the end of the month.

The stores in Newtownabbey, Craigavon, Belfast Connswater, Belfast Cityside Retail Park, Belfast Donegall Place, Belfast Boucher Shopping Park, Newtownards Castlebawn Retail Park and Bangor are expected to close by August 10.

Clare Boardman and Daniel Butters, restructuring partners at Deloitte, were appointed as joint administrators to the company on June 11.

At the time the business operated 335 stores and employed around 5,100 people.

The administrators are still in talks with some interested parties about selling parts of the remaining business. However, hopes of saving a significant number of jobs have faded. Deloitte has turned down a bid from company founder Chris Edwards. The founder of rival Poundland Steven Smith has also been linked to a bid to salvage part of the company.

The collapse of Poundworld came amid decreasing footfall, rising costs and weak consumer confidence.

Meanwhile, M&S, which has 20 stores in Northern Ireland, has decided not to renew its lease in Lisburn.

It has embarked on the closure of around 100 UK stores by 2022 as it battles the downturn in retail on the high street.

The 40 staff at Bow Street Mall store are moving to nearby stores.

There is already an M&S at Sprucefield Shopping Centre in the city, and the company is opening a new food store in Malborough Retail Park in Craigavon later this year.

Simon Layton of M&S said: "The decision not to renew our lease and close our small food store in Bow Street Mall was a difficult one to make.

"I understand many of our loyal customers will be disappointed and we hope to see them in our nearby Lisburn store at Sprucefield. We've got a brilliant team of 40 colleagues at the store who will all move to nearby stores."

M&S's local stores had so far escaped closure. As well as its new Craigavon outlet, a Carrickfergus branch is due to open next spring.

Belfast Telegraph

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