Store closures hit Eastbourne

EASTBOURNE’S town centre has started 2012 with yet more shop closures and other struggling stores preparing to shut after closing down sales.

The Arndale Centre has been badly hit by closures this week with two stores shutting and another two starting closing down sales.

Both Sports Direct and lingerie store La Senza are selling off stock at cut down prices ready to join the many empty units already in the Arndale Centre.

A spokesperson for La Senza said, “La Senza continues to work with KPMG to explore all options including a sale of all or part of the business to safeguard the future of the company and as many of its employees as possible.

“As part of this process and as a contingency, the company regrettably has had to commence a programme of store closures to enable resources to be focused on the best performing stores in the portfolio.

“No decision has been taken as to when any stores will close but the company can confirm that it will continue to trade as normal in all stores in the meantime.

“The company can also confirm that it is still not in administration and that administrators have not been appointed.”

Appy Feet, which offered fish pedicures, has shut up shop in the Arndale. This leaves an empty store opposite what used to be Mothercare and Mad House.

Eastbourne’s Hawkins Bazaar has also closed its doors after the company went in to administration.

The company has closed 41 stores nationwide including Eastbourne but 25 shops across the country have remained open.

More than 300 jobs have been lost so far and administrator Zolfo Cooper has been appointed.

The Arndale Centre also has further empty units following a change of premises for Menkind and Game. The closure of the Sony Centre sometime ago has also left a vacant shop in Eastbourne’s shopping heart.

But it is not just the Arndale Centre which is suffering. Blacks, Millets and Past Times are struggling this January – putting the Eastbourne shops, which are all situated close to each other in Terminus Road, at risk of closure.

Past Times is due to be put into administration. Owned by Epic Private Equity, the firm sells its retro-themed gifts and has 100 stores across the UK.

The Blacks and Millets stores are also facing uncertainty. The loss-making group, which employs 3,600 staff nationwide, put itself up for sale after failing to secure extra funding to turn around the business.