Northern Irish mini-chain Clockwork Orange is closing down more than a third of its stores as part of a strategy to exit smaller sites.
The 11-store indie, which stocks brands including Diesel and Replay, has closed two stores in Bangor and Enniskillen and is set to shut its Newtownards and Newry stores on July 1 and August 1 respectively. The leases on the four sites are believed to have come to an end, prompting the closures.
Clockwork Orange parent company SVM Textiles will continue to trade its remaining seven stores in locations such as Ballymena, Belfast and Lisburn. Managing director Sam Morrison denied the closures had been prompted by tough trading and said: “We are keeping the rest of our stores. The stores included in the deal were small. Our larger stores can offer all of our products better and this is the right strategy.”
He added that while trade in the first quarter of the year had been difficult, sales had stabilised in the past six weeks thanks to warmer weather.
Morrison also said that the company’s franchises - which include two Tommy Hilfiger stores in Belfast - were unaffected. There are plans to open a further Tommy Hilfiger franchise in Ballymena later in the year. Earlier this year, Morrison converted the business’s Sixty franchise store in Belfast into a Clockwork Orange store.
SVM Textiles also has two Hire Class hirewear shops in Ballymena and Lisburn.
The leases of the four Clockwork Orange sites in Bangor, Enniskillen, Newtownards and Newry are understood to have been taken up by Nath Brothers, which owns 10 NV and Gino young fashion stores in locations including Lisburn, Belfast and Ballymena.
Nath Brothers is also thought to have taken three further leases for empty units - a 10,000 sq ft site in Boucher Retail Park and a 5,000 sq ft unit in City Side Retail Park, both in Belfast, and a 5,000 sq ft store in Showgrounds Retail Park in Omagh - from property company Corbo, which is owned by Morrison’s father Sam Morrison senior.
The first Clockwork Orange store opened in Ballymena in 1998.