More than 100 Bennetts jobs saved

THE new owner of six Bennetts electrical stores saved from administration has confirmed that more than 100 former employees of the failed company have been rehired.

Norwich-based Bennetts went into administration early last month with its 14 stores, all but two of them located in East Anglia, immediately closing and 228 staff being made redundant.

Lowestoft-based rival Hughes Electrical then stepped in to purchase six of the stores from the administrators from accountancy firm PKF.

And all six, including those on the Beardmore Park retail estate at Martlesham Heath near Ipswich and at the Tollgate retail centre outside Colchester, have now reopened for business.

A total of 117 staff have been rehired, including Trever Foster, store manager at Martlesham Heath, and Jackie Russell, his counterpart at the Colchester store.

The Bennetts brand is being retained, in order to distinguish its larger out-of-town stores from the Hughes network of mainly smaller in-town shops.

Mr Foster, who worked at the Martlesham Heath branch when it first opened in 1988, said: “This has been a difficult time for us but now all the staff are just delighted to have the store open and for us to be trading again under the Bennetts brand.

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“We are looking forward to meeting customers old and new and they can be assured of a warm welcome.”

Hughes Electrical managing director Robert Hughes said yesterday: “We have been working flat out since we acquired the stores on March 22 and it’s a great tribute to all concerned that we have got them open again so quickly.

“I am glad to say we have been able to recruit a total of 117 former Bennetts staff.”

The company, founded in Lowestoft in 1921, now operates a total of more than 40 stores across the country, including nearly 30 under the Hughes brand in East Anglia and eight under the Apollo 2000 name in the Midlands and the North West.