STAFF at a York fashion store which fell into administration last year are waiting to find out if it has been saved from closure.
Bonmarché in Goodramgate has still got signs displayed in its windows, proclaiming: “Closing down sale… everything must go.”
But many of the firm’s stores across the country are expected to stay open after Peacocks acquired the majority of Bonmarché’s assets last month, following months of speculation.
The fashion retailer, owned by Philip Day’s investment firm Spectre Holdings, is reported to have acquired about 200 stores.
But the future of another 70 stores is said to be in doubt, with Peacocks reported to be in talks with some landlords.
Staff at the shop indicated last week that they did not know as yet whether or not it would stay open, and referred The Press to head office for a comment.
The newspaper asked Bon Marche’s press office to explain whether a decision had been taken over the store, but no one had responded by our deadline on Friday afternoon.
The question mark is hanging over the store at a time when the city centre is being hit by a severe downturn in business, caused initially by the River Ouse flooding in February and more recently by the coronavirus.
Some businesses have warned that the impact of the virus on visitor numbers could be the final straw.
One small business owner, David Binelli, of Alterations Express in Fossgate and Sew n Sew’s in Nessgate, said earlier this week that coronavirus would ‘finish us off’ if residents didn’t support the high street.
He urged people to ‘keep calm and carry on’ for the sake of all small retailers, cafes and other businesses.
The centre already had many units vacant by the end of last year, before being hit by the additional problems of 2020.
Debenhams department store in Davygate shut down in December, and Dorothy Perkins/Burtons in Coney Street closed last September. Other shops to close their doors last year included Crabtree and Evelyn in Stonegate and LK Bennett in High Petergate.
However, the long empty former BHS store in Coney Street finally reopened as sports and fashion stores.