Concourse dealt fresh blow as bakery opts to leave centre
THE Concourse has been dealt a fresh blow after bosses at Greggs announced they are to leave the Skelmersdale shopping centre.
The announcement comes on the back of other worrying news concerning stores belonging to fashion retailer New Look and discount chain Poundworld.
Both retailers, who have outlets in the Concourse, said this week they are considering closing stores as part of restructuring proposals.
The Greggs closure on March 31 will add to the number of empty units in the Skelmersdale shopping where 19% of the 90 units are now void.
It is understood that New Look and Poundworld are thinking about entering into a company voluntary arrangement (CVA). This is a legal agreement which would allow them to scrap stores which are not making money and negotiate rent reductions with landlords.
Only the best-performing 150 of New Look’s 600 stores would not be affected. As many as 70 of its worst performing stores could be closed. New Look is in £1.2bn of debt.
Poundworld, which has 350 stores, is also understood to be struggling and is in discussions with accountants including Deloitte.
The store has been hit by high inflation and low confidence among consumers, and recently posted losses of £17.1m.
A Greggs spokesperson commented: “We can confirm that a decision has been made to close our Skelmersdale shop which will cease trading on March 31.”
A spokesperson for New Look said: “We continue to assess a range of options to improve the operational performance of our business – including reviewing our store estate. We will of course update as decisions are made.”
A Poundworld spokesman commented: “We are assessing a wide range of options; however, no decision has been taken.”
Last week, the Champion reported how MP Rosie Cooper has met with local directors of the NatWest bank to discuss the impending closure of their Skelmersdale branch in the Concourse. The Concourse branch of Nat West was among 197 closures announced by the bank in December last year.
However, there may be some good news on the horizon.
A spokesman for the Concourse told the Champion: “We are in advanced discussions with both national and independent retailers that are seeking to open in Skelmersdale and wish to move to the Concourse Centre. We hope to make some exciting announcements soon.
“We also have plans in place to begin refurbishments within the Centre and these should begin in the coming months.”