01/06/2016 - More job losses on the High Street

austinreedThe administrators called in to menswear retailer Austin Reed declared 1,184 job losses yesterday. It's another familiar name which will be absent from high street around the country. The future of department store chain BHS will be revealed later this week.

In Scotland Muller Milk confirmed the closure of two dairies, at East Kilbride and Aberdeen, with the potential loss of 225 jobs.

Austin Reed, which has 120 high-street stores and whose products are stocked in 50 more, went into administration in April. Administrators AlixPartners had been seeking a buyer for the business as a going concern.

But they were able to sell only a small part of its operations, including the Austin Reed brand.

Peter Saville of AlixPartners said: “Despite a significant number of interested parties coming forward during this period, it became clear as the process progressed that a viable solution which kept the business whole was not forthcoming. As a result we have made the difficult decision to cease trading the business and commence a wind-down of the estate.”

The 120 stores will be sold off to other retailers.

Shop workers’ union Usdaw was: “We’re extremely disappointed to see another long-established retailer disappear off the high street.”

In Scotland, Usdaw said its members were “devastated” by Muller Milk’s dairy closures.

Usdaw national officer Daniel Adams said: “After extensive local consultation with the business in an attempt to secure jobs, today’s news is a devastating blow for the loyal and hard-working staff in Aberdeen and East Kilbride.

“Usdaw remains concerned at the potentially premature nature of the decision regarding the East Kilbride site, given that the company do not anticipate it closing for up to another 24 months.

“Usdaw has secured a commitment from the business that a formal dialogue will continue at East Kilbride during this time as we believe there remain a number of issues where further discussion is required.”

The union said it would “press the company to maximise redeployment opportunities to minimise job losses.”

Yesterday’s job losses were in addition to 618 announced with the closure of printing firm Polestar in Sheffield.

Pat Harrington, general secretary, of Solidarity commented: "Despite the Tory Chancellor, George Osbourne, talking up 'economic recovery' news of job losses comes every week."

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