ProCook, a cookware merchant that was acquired out of administration last year, is closing its 18 high-street stores to focus on its eCommerce site and 13 outlet shops, as well as to develop its wholesale business. The company blamed “extortionate and ever-increasing business rates” as the reason for scaling back its retail presence. Around 100 staff will be made redundant by the closures.
Job losses are also expected at Game Group. The video games retailer proposes to relocate the head office of its Gamestation retail chain from York to Basingstoke, where the rest of the company is based. Since acquiring Gamestation in 2007, Game has been operating two head offices. Under the new proposals, the warehouse and call centre teams will remain at the York site. A consultation process has begun with around 80 employees. Game says it will do its “utmost to offer comparable roles for those that want to relocate to Basingstoke”.
Although no official comment has been made, there may also be redundancies at multititle mailer Findel. In a 17th February statement, Findel admitted, “Trading conditions continue to be very difficult for [home furnishings catalogue] The Cotswold Company and [toys catalogue] Letterbox… The ongoing viability of these two brands is being reviewed”. Findel’s total sales for the 44 weeks ended 6th February were down 3 percent from the previous year, and sales within its home shopping division were down 6 percent, although the company said its Kitbag.com sports apparel brand was doing well.
Findel’s home shopping division is organised into two groups: the Express Gifts credit business, which includes the Studio and Ace general merchandise catalogues, and Findel Direct, which includes gifts and gadgets marketer I Want One of Those as well as Kitbag, Cotswold Company, and Letterbox. The company confirmed it is in the midst of a “rationalisation and consolidation process” and that “certain functions of Findel Direct have been merged with Express Gifts within the home shopping division”, though it declined to elaborate. Findel also has educational supplies and healthcare divisions.
Meanwhile, rumours are circulating that Findel is planning to shut down its Findel Direct offices in Chadderton, Greater Manchester, by the spring, and Catalogue e-business has heard that staff consultations regarding redundancies began in February. Findel declined to comment on potential redundancies, however.
Published: 2nd March 2009