Department stores group goes into administration

DEPARTMENT stores group Vergo Retail has gone into administration after suffering trading losses, it has emerged.

Vergo, which acquired around a dozen stores in East Anglia from the East of England Co-operative Society in July last year, is continuing to trade normally while a buyer for the businesses is sought.

The administrators are Sarah Bell and Steven Muncaster, partners at restructuring and insolvency specialist MCR.

Vergo, which is based in Liverpool, was established in 2007 when it acquired the department stores Lewis’s of Liverpool, Robbs of Hexham and Joplings of Sunderland.

In July last year, it acquired the former East of England Co-op department stores in Ipswich, Colchester, Clacton, Norwich and Great Yarmouth, together with the society’s Homestores in Felixstowe, Stowmarket, Stanway, near Colchester, Clacton, Dovercourt and Witham, and separate jewellery store in Colchester.

In total, Vergo operates a total of 19 outlets across the country, employment a total of 942 staff, of whom around 350 work at those in East Anglia.

Sarah Bell said today: “Unfortunately the company has endured periods of financial loss.

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“It has made efforts following the recently announced closure of the Lewis’s store in Liverpool, to seek new finance to restructure the business but has been unsuccessful in finding a going concern solution. Like many retailers, it has experienced a difficult trading environment during the economic downturn.”