Sudbury/ Harwich: Jobs to go with closure of Bonmarch� stores
THE new owner of fashion chain Bomarch� today confirmed that its stores in Sudbury and Harwich are among the total of 160 which it plans to close.
Bonmarch�, formerly part of the Peacocks Group which is currently in administration, was acquired last month by private equity firm Sun European Partners, which also owns other retail names including Alexon and Jacques Vert.
Sun, which bought the entire Bonmarch� chain apart from three stores, said at the time it would continue to run 230 stores but would close about 160, with the loss of around 1,400 jobs out of a total workforce of 3,800.
Initially, the new owners declined to reveal which stores were earmarked for closure but today a spokeswoman for Bonmarch� confirmed that the branches in Sudbury and Harwich were among those which would close.
She was not able to confirm the number of jobs affected at the two stores and said that no timescale for the closures had been fixed, with discussions with landlords still in progress.
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“The Sudbury and Harwich stores are currently earmarked for closure. However, such stores are being constantly reviewed and careful consideration given,” she said.
“We are in discussions with landlords and councils to reduce costs and improve town amenities. We are looking at the convenience of the customer and the distance she will have to travel to an open store.”
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Bonmarch�’s network of stores in Suffolk and north Essex also includes branches in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, Lowestoft, Felixstowe, Haverhill, Colchester, Clacton, Braintree and Chelmsford.
At the time of last month’s deal, Sun European Partners vice-president, Matthias Gundlach, said it was working with Bonmarch�’s management to put “a sustainable growth programme” in place.
He added: “Bonmarche is a great brand that operates in an attractive niche of the apparel sector that we know very well.
“Thanks to its strong range with a good value-for-money proposition and a unique in-store service experience, Bonmarche has a loyal customer base of regular repeat buyers.”
The administrators of the Peacocks business, which has 563 stores and 48 concessions and employs around 7,500 people, are currently evaluating bids from six potential buyers.
Pakistani billionaire Alshair Fiyaz, who made his fortune in the textile industry and whose family wealth is estimated at �3 billion, is reported to be one of the interested parties, working with Danish investment fund Solstra Capital.
The Peacocks chain includes more than 40 stores in the East of England. Its network in Suffolk includes branches in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, Lowestoft, Felixstowe, Woodbridge, Stowmarket, Newmarket and Haverhill while in north and mid Essex it has stores in Colchester, Chelmsford, Clacton, Frinton, Harwich, Braintree, Witham and Maldon.