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Fenwick to close Leicester store after 55 years

Fenwick is to close its store in Leicester later this year in response to changing consumer shopping habits and low footfall.

Fenwick acquired the store from Joseph Johnson & Co in 1962 and rebranded it as Fenwick in 1962.

The group, which will now have 10 stores in locations including Newcastle, Tunbridge Wells and York, is set to open its first store in 14 years this year at the new £240m Lexicon Bracknell retail and leisure destination. The store will replace the existing Fenwick-owned unit in the town, the Bentalls store that was part of the acquisition of that family-owned group in 2001.

A spokesman for the independent department store group said the traditional retail area in Leicester has seen much of its “once thriving footfall” diverted to out-of-town shopping parks served by purpose-built car parks, as well as suffering from increasing competition online.

Fenwick group chairman Mark Fenwick said: “This has been a very difficult decision for us, as we have been committed to serving the people of Leicester for more than 50 years, but the challenging trading environment and gradual loss of footfall have made it impossible for us to find a way forward that enables the business to trade successfully.

“Looking after our Leicester employees and customers will now be a top priority.”

Around 100 full-time employees are understood to be affected.

Fenwick is set to relaunch its group ecommerce site in the early part of this year, more than two years since it put online trading on hold.

The group’s sales rose 1.2% to £431.7m for the year to 29 January 2016, compared with the previous year but gross profit margins slipped by 0.1%. Pre-tax profit increased 23.4% to £44.2m.

Drapers has contacted Fenwick for comment.

 

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