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850 jobs at risk as Redcats closes Empire Stores

Redcats is to shut its Empire stores home shopping business in the UK, affecting up to 850 jobs.

Redcats, the UK arm of French retailer PPR, which also owns multi-channel retailer La Redoute, said the decision to close the three sites in Bradford and Wakefield would enable the company to focus on the remaining UK operations and allow it to develop new projects.

It is understood that the closure of the Empire stores' business unit is expected to be completed by January 2009 and could involve the loss of approximately 850 jobs at the company's operations in Bradford and Wakefield.

However, trade union Usdaw said it was bitterly disappointed by the news on behalf of its members. Usdaw national officer Val Pugh said: "The agency home shopping sector has been in decline for a number of years and has suffered a poor Christmas trading period in line with the high street. Nevertheless, the company's announcement this morning is bitterly disappointing.

"Empire Stores has been a household name for almost a century and a large proportion of the staff have a very long and loyal service. This is a community-based business in Bradford and Wakefield and the impact of these proposals will be felt throughout the region. Usdaw is to begin a consultation period on January 14 with the intention of minimising job losses.

"It is anticipated that opportunities for displaced staff may arise in other more successful parts of the company's business and it is our intention to support our members in moves within the business wherever possible."

Readers' comments (1)

  • How sad, but it is not surprising that Empire Stores empire is crumbling. Bradford used to be full of mills and clothing manufacturers, but look at it now. The mail order business has been dying for years and having worked as a supplier in this market for many years, I could see this coming a long time ago. So there we have it, M&S is finding it tough, empire is calling it a day, I just hope everyone out there keeps their mouths shut when they start whinging that theres only Primark to shop at in the UK.

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