More Vergo stores to close

FIVE stores owned by the Vergo Retail group, including three in Suffolk and Essex, are to close tomorrow, the company’s administrators confirmed today.

And the remaining 10 stores in the chain, including that in Ipswich, will also close in a week’s time unless a buyer is found.

Joint administrator Sarah Bell, from insolvency specialist MCR, said that negotiations with prospective purchases of the 10 remaining stores would continue.

However, she said the closure of the five stores due to cease trading tomorrow had become inevitable following a lack of any suitable offers.

“Since the administration began we have worked hard to secure a purchase of the Vergo business,” she said.

“However, given the tough economic climate and the financial challenges hitting the UK’s retail industry, certain Vergo stores can no longer be sustained.”

But she added: “I must reiterate that negotiations are still in progress on a number of stores still operating and can not rule out a sale of the stores until all avenues have been exhausted. We encourage any interested parties to come forward urgently.”

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Unless purchasers are found, the final day of trading for the 10 remaining stores will be Saturday, June 26.

The stores due to close tomorrow are the Felixstowe homeware branch, the separate department and homeware stores in Clacton-on-Sea, the department store in Great Yarmouth and the separately-branded Joplings department store in Sunderland.

Vergo’s presence in East Anglia stems from its acquisition in July last year of department store and homestore business of the East of England Co-operative Society, which saw a total of 350 former co-op employees transfer to the new owner.

Before today’s announcement, four stores had already been closed by the administrators while one, in Hexham, Northumberland, has been sold.

A total of 482 employees across the company have been made redundant although the administrators have declined to give any breakdown of the jobs lost in East Anglia.

The East of England Co-op retains the freehold of its former stores.