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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

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Carlisle's Hoopers shop to stay open while talks continue

A stay of execution has been handed to department store staff under threat of redundancy as talks to save their jobs continue.

Philip Day photo
Philip Day

Hoopers had been due to close in Carlisle tomorrow with the loss of 83 jobs, after the firm failed to turn around losses running into six figures.

Cumbrian tycoon Philip Day is, however, trying to take over the Castle Street store – Carlisle’s oldest department store building – rescue the threatened posts and add the building to his retail empire.

Talks between him and Hoopers’ management are ongoing. Hoopers’ managing director Anne Horton confirmed to The Cumberland News yesterday that while those negotiations were continuing, the store would remain open. However, because of those talks, Ms Horton said she could not comment further.

Staff at Hoopers have been briefed on the on-going discussions and are understood to have been heartened by them.

Mr Day, of Edmond Castle, Hayton, is chairman of the Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group. He has already said his desire to take on the building is motivated by concern for the future of Carlisle. The businessman has described his offer for the Hoopers building as a “serious one”.

In the past, he has rescued fashion retail chain Peacocks from closure. He has – among many other business interests – retail fashion brand Jane Norman in his portfolio.

His plan for Hoopers is to include Peacocks, Jane Norman, Ponden Home, Proquip and James Pringle brands along with a number of partner concessions in men’s and womenswear lines across a full price range and age profile.

Edinburgh Woollen Mill in Carlisle will stay in its current home in English Street.

Mr Day is trying to avoid the store closing and staff being laid off before any takeover.

Carlisle City Council leader Joe Hendry welcomed news of the talks.

He said: We just hope that something positive will now come out of this.

“Continuing to trade while negotiations continue with Philip Day is positive.”

Until a little more than six years ago, Edinburgh Woollen Mill leased the property from Bullough’s, before it became Hoopers.

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