Store closure likely to result in job lossess

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CLOTHING retailer Ethel Austin is set to become the latest business to leave the Abbeygate Centre in the New Year.

And it is thought up to 14 staff will lose their jobs in the process.

It is the second time this year that the store has been under threat after the Ethel Austin company entered administration in February.

However, the Arbroath outlet was one of 90 stores that were given a reprieve and were able to continue trading after a new buyer for the company was found.

But now it seems the local branch will be moving out of the shopping centre to make way for fellow fashion retailer Peacocks, which will move into the unit currently occupied by them.

It is believed that staff were told around two weeks ago that their jobs were to go with the closing of the store and that its final week of trading will be at the beginning of January.

Ethel Austin now adds to the list of businesses that have moved out of the centre since the start of year along with Iceland, Semi-Chem and Clarks,

The shoe retailer Stead and Simpson could also be poised to leave the centre, as planning permission has been submitted by Greggs the bakers for that unit.

Concerns about the future of the Abbeygate Centre, which is owned by the Co-operative Group, were raised earlier this year after a spate of closures.

But the owners have always maintained they are fully committed to the Abbeygate Centre and Arbroath.

Earlier this year, Councillor Donald Morrison called on the Co-operative to make clear their intentions for the centre and he still hopes this can happen.

He said: “The Abbeygate Centre is still an ongoing concern and this is the sort of doom and gloom that needs to be sorted on the High Street as there are positive stories also.

“Obviously it is sad the shop is closing, especially at this time of year and I’m surprised as it is often a busy shop too.”

It is now thought that members of the town centre regeneration group, which includes local councillors and business owners, are seeking a meeting with the Co-operative to discuss the Abbeygate Centre.