Another store bites the dust

More bad news for Macclesfield with the announcement that Brighthouse is to close its store in the Grosvenor Centre – along with others in Eccles, Macclesfield and Southport.

Brighthouse, which specialises in selling household items through credit terms, is the second chain this week to announce it is shutting stores.

The chain will shut 30 stores over the next two months and said redundancies will be an “inevitable” part of the process despite efforts to transfer employees to other jobs within the business. Around 350 Brighthouse staff will lose their jobs.

BrightHouse, Grosvenor Centre, Macclesfield

A spokesman for the firm said: “We are working to redeploy as many people as possible into alternative roles, but redundancies will be inevitable.

“We will be speaking to all customers affected by the store closures and either transferring them to another local store or serving them online.”

There has been a swathe of closures in the retail sector over the last year. Big names that have been affected include New Look, House of Fraser and Toys R Us.

Last year the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) watchdog announced the introduction of a price cap on firms like BrightHouse, with the aim of protecting consumers.

The watchdog said customers were often among the most financially vulnerable people in society, and in some cases they were paying up to four times the average retail price due to high interest payments on items.

In 2017, BrightHouse paid out £14.8m to 249,000 customers after the FCA found it did not act as a “responsible lender”.

Further bad news for the High Street – struggling department store chain Debenhams could begin a closure programme at its stores, with up to 20 at risk this year.

The BBC reports that the embattled retailer is exploring a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) and is in talks with its banks to increase borrowings ahead of a quarterly rent payment which is due on March 25.

Debenhams is understood to be close to its existing £520m borrowing facilities and is the latest in a long line of retailers to have been hit by a slowdown in spending and a change in consumer habits.

The company operates flagship stores on Manchester’s Market Street, in the Liverpool One shopping centre, at the Golden Square shopping centre in Warrington, and Stockport’s Merseyway Shopping Centre.

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