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Yarmouth Ethel Austin store escapes cull

PUBLISHED: 13:23 12 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:40 30 June 2010

The future of Great Yarmouth's Ethel Austin store remains in the balance despite surviving a round of closures.

The value clothing chain and sister homeware chain Au Naturale went into administration earlier this month after suffering a slump in trade and competition from rival budget chains such as Primark and Matalan.

The future of Great Yarmouth's Ethel Austin store remains in the balance despite surviving a round of closures.

The value clothing chain and sister homeware chain Au Naturale went into administration earlier this month after suffering a slump in trade and competition from rival budget chains such as Primark and Matalan.

And last week administrators MCR named 129 loss-making stores set for closure, which is expected to lead to hundreds of job losses. But the Yarmouth branch, based at the Market Place site of the former Woolworth's store, escaped the cull.

The King's Lynn store was among those earmarked for closure, after 400 distribution and 65 head office staff were made redundant last week.

The future of the Yarmouth store, which employs about 20, and about 150 branches not scheduled for closure nationally, remains unclear while a buyer is sought.

Sales are underway at all 276 stores.

Geoff Bouchier, joint administrator and partner at MCR, said: “We are now conducting a parallel strategy. All stores are to enter into a sale campaign while we continue to seek a purchaser for the company's businesses.”

A statement added: “Specifically 129 of stores have been identified as loss-making and as a consequence those stores will enter a closing down phase. A rescue of these stores by a willing purchaser has not been ruled out.”

The company said all unpaid wages owing at the date of the administration would be paid via the administration in full in line with usual payment dates.


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