City of Wolverhampton Council is joining forces with city partners to provide support to House of Fraser and its workers after today's (Thursday 7 June) news its Wolverhampton store is one of 31 identified for closure.

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If approved, the department store chain's financial plan to rescue the rest of the struggling business will see more than half of its 59 shops shut nationwide.

The stores scheduled for closure, which include its flagship London Oxford Street store and branches in Birmingham, Shrewsbury and Telford, will stay open until early 2019.

Wolverhampton's 131 year old Beatties store, owned by House of Fraser, employs 279 staff.

The council will respond, as it did very swiftly - working with a range of key local partners such as Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), Job Centre Plus, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), and Local Enterprise Partnership - when BHS closed its doors for business, with the majority of its staff successfully helped to find alternative retail roles.

City of Wolverhampton Council Leader, Councillor Roger Lawrence, said: "It is obviously a very serious blow. I have been concerned in recent years about the lack of investment made in the store and I think it has really lost its position in the market place as a result.

"Clearly it is going to have a very serious impact on the retail offer in Wolverhampton.

"At my request I called a meeting of senior officers this morning to draw up contingency plans and begin working with partners to support all those affected by this decision.

"We have worked previously with BHS, and on other closures, to help people secure jobs in new stores that have opened in the city.

"This is a challenge cities and towns up and down the country are facing in a retail world that is changing quite dramatically due to the booming online market and the tendency to focus on out of town shopping areas."

City of Wolverhampton Council officers have been liaising regularly with managers at the Beatties store to offer support.

  • released: Thursday 7 June, 2018