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Big names could step in to soften Co-op closure blow

By Staf Newsletter  |  Posted: January 25, 2013

END OF AN ERA ... Stafford's Co-op department store, which employs 73 staff, is to close.

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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.”

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  • Staf Newsletter  |  January 30 2013, 9:52PM

    I wouldnt be surprised if we get a 99p shop in stafford sometime they say they want 1 in every high street. Anyone know whats going to happen to chicago rock thats been lying empty for ages.

  • Staf Newsletter  |  January 26 2013, 1:19PM

    Free parking is not the answer to the town woes. If there were free parking it would not necessarily be shoppers benefitting from this, primarily town centre workers, persons using the train station, college students etc would be the main beneficiaries. Without enforcement it would be a free for all and no one wins except those able to park all day without restriction. The car parks would then be clogged up and there would be no turnover of spaces. This would then deter people from attempting to visit the town. To attract people to shop in the town you need a good selection of shops and to attract people to start their own business or move into the town there needs to be some incentive, the main deterrent to people trying to start businesses is high property rents and rates hence the high number of charity stores who benefit from discounted rates.

  • Staf Newsletter  |  January 25 2013, 6:12PM

    We need primark in Stafford then we will get people from near by towns like Cannock stone Newport etc etc ,which have not g,ot a primark to shop in Stafford tem them into Stafford with primark then they will shop and spend in the other shop too

  • Staf Newsletter  |  January 25 2013, 11:54AM

    I read with dismay at the latest retail closure's to hit Stafford Town in the shape of the Co-op, Millet's and Druckers. The Guidhall is dire since the losses of Waterstone's, Mothercare, JJB (and possibly soon HMV). In the same newspaper, Mr. Ted Manders (Head of Regeneration at SBC) proudly boasts about the 6,000 parking tickets issued by attendants in Stafford. These attendants (dressed like SAS militia) apparently rake in £100k, but what do they cost in salaries? The only way we can revitalise this dying town is to make free parking at all SBC car parks. Provincial towns in France and across Europe don't charge for parking. Never understood the obsession in this country. If the University pulls out then I think this town will be finished as a destination of choice. Come on SBC, less false promises, and lets have more action from your 'Regeneration Team'.