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Chessmen in administration

South Wales young fashion independent Chessmen is hoping to rescue one of its stores after tough trading forced the three-store chain into administration.
Managing director Mark Hale plans to buy back one of its stores in Newport from recovery specialist DTE Leonard Curtis, which was appointed as administrator this week. The Cardiff shop and a second Newport store have closed.

Hale said: “It’s devastating, but our stores have suffered from increased competition and a shrinking middle market.” He added that footfall in the Cardiff store had dropped by as much as 40% because of the redevelopment of the St David’s 2 centre, which had already forced the retailer to close one of its stores last July. Hale turned the old premises into a fancy dress shop.

“The work has caused parking problems so shoppers are opting for nearby shopping centres such as Cribbs Causeway near Bristol,” he said. “We used to rely on Cardiff’s catchment area for business, but there are so many shops offering similar brands that it’s difficult to compete.”
Hale said Contrary, the womenswear store he opened in Cardiff last October, via a separate company called Chess Knight Ltd, was unaffected.

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