Following months of rumours and speculation, Redcats, a division
of French conglomerate PPR, finally confirmed on 10th January
that it will close Empire Stores within a year unless a buyer is
found. This past summer Catalogue/e-business reported that
Redcats was to “reorganise” the Empire Stores
business and “implement important changes to its product
selection and sourcing strategy which will potentially require a
reduction in the number of people in some functions”.
Nonetheless, the news that almost 1,000 jobs in Bradford and Wakefield will be lost has sent shockwaves through Empire’s workforce and the local and national media. One reader of the Bradford Telegraph and Argus posted on the website, “The loss of another major employer is a massive blow. Who’s going to step into the gap to provide work locally for those being made redundant? The more we lose the less likely Bradford is seen as a viable option for investors”.
Trade union Usdaw, which represents many of the workers at the Bradford and Wakefield sites, expressed its “shock and bitter disappointment” at the announcement, adding that the impact of these proposals will “be felt throughout the region”. Consultations between the union and Redcats will begin Monday, 14th January.
A full report on the news will be in the 4th February edition of Catalogue/e-business.