Mayor insists town will ‘bounce back’ as shops put up closing down sale signs
PUBLISHED: 11:27 14 October 2020 | UPDATED: 11:34 14 October 2020
A market town is “well placed to bounce back” despite a number a shop closures looming, its mayor has insisted.
Shops including M&Co, Ponden Home Interiors, Peacocks and Edinburgh Woollen Mill all began displaying closing down sale signs in Dereham.
The businesses, except for M&Co, are owned by the Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group.
The move came after the group announced it was planning to appoint administrators – putting 21,000 jobs at risk.
However staff at the stores could not comment on when – or even if – the shops would close.
EWM chief executive Steve Simpson said: “Like every retailer, we have found the past seven months extremely difficult.
“This situation has grown worse in recent weeks as we have had to deal with a series of false rumours about our payments and trading which have impacted our credit insurance.
“Traditionally, EWM has always traded with strong cash reserves and a conservative balance sheet, but these stories, the reduction in credit insurance, against the backdrop of the lockdown and now this second wave of Covid-19, and all the local lockdowns, have made normal trading impossible.
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“As directors we have a duty to the business, our staff, our customers and our creditors to find the very best solution in this brutal environment.
“Through this process I hope and believe we will be able to secure the best future for our businesses, but there will inevitably be significant cuts and closures as we work our way through this.
“I would like to thank all our staff for their amazing efforts during this time and also our customers who have remained so loyal and committed to our brands.”
Despite the looming closures, with three of the eight shops on Wright’s Walk displaying closing down sale signs, Dereham mayor Stuart Green is sure the town will bounce back.
He said: “Many people have been suffering economically as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, unfortunately this is a very visual and sad reminder of the economic impact of the pandemic on businesses.
“The pandemic will be over at some point and Dereham is well placed to bounce back and recover.
“We still have a range of national retailers, many independent shops, services and hospitality, coupled with ample free parking and good bus connections people are able to visit the town from a wide area.
“Dereham still has lots to offer for those who visit.”
M&Co were approached for comment.
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