STAFFORD’S Co-op department store and Druckers cafe are to shut down as the town’s high street is dealt yet another blow.Both outlets will close their doors in the next few months, leaving yet more units in the town centre empty.
But it might not all be bad news as demand has been growing from big-name retailers for large units in Stafford, which have previously been unavailable.
Big name stores previously touted as wanting to move into Stafford have included Primark, Debenhams and British Home Stores.
The Co-op in Gaolgate Street, which employs 73 staff, is one of nine fashion and homes stores across the country which will close in the next six months.
Chief executive Martyn Cheatle has blamed major changes in the retail sector and the growth in online shopping for huge losses but he said none of the food stores was affected.
He said attempts to sell the fashion and home business as a going concern had failed.
All customer orders and gift vouchers will be honoured.
Borough council leader Mike Heenan said:
“It is very disappointing news and our con- cerns are with the staff who will lose their jobs as a result of this. We will be speaking to the Co-op to find out more details and what their intentions are.
“Obviously a store of this size and location is a sad loss to the town especially as they have had a long presence on Gaolgate Street - but we will be working very hard with our partners to fill this unit when it becomes vacant.”
The Druckers Vienna Patisserie in the Guildhall Centre will shut in March after bosses made the decision not to renew the lease, leaving around eight members of staff out of work. The firm has recently made changes to the business with some other cafes in the chain closing down.
But George Demetriou, manager of the Guildhall Centre, said the departure of Druckers could result in a redevelopment of that end of the Guildhall - and a big name store moving in.
Mr Demetriou said: “It does give us an opportunity to look at and reconfigure that unit to see if we can create a bigger retail space at that whole end.
“There has been a lot of interest from high street names who have wanted large units in the centre but we haven’t been able to accommodate them. I can’t reveal what names have been interested. However, we are looking at this positively.”