Stores saved from closure

SHOPPERS are over the moon after two popular womenswear stores were saved from closure.

Bonmarché stores in High Street, Kettering, and Corporation Street, Corby, earmarked for closure in January after their parent company was sold, will now remain open.

Rebecca Lewis, manager of the Kettering store, said customers were pleased with the decision.

She said: “We are relieved and really happy. Our customers are over the moon.

“It would really have affected a lot of people. There are people in town who can’t get out of town.

“It would have been a big loss for them.”

New owners Sun European Partners’ decision to keep the stores open has secured seven jobs in Kettering and six in Corby.

Only about 275 of the chain’s 394 stores were saved from closure.

The Wellingborough store in the Swansgate Centre, which has eight employees, was never earmarked for closure.

Ms Lewis said: “Staff are thrilled with the news that we are now remaining open. We would like to extend a special thanks to all of our customers for their support and messages of encouragement over the last few weeks.”

Customer Sharon Reed, of Kettering, said: “It’s the best news I’ve had all year.

“I would have been devastated if it had closed.”

Gill Robinson, of Kettering, was also pleased it was remaining open, adding: “It’s a nice shop.”

Private equity firm Sun European Partners bought the chain in January after previous owners the Peacock Group failed to reach an agreement with its banks, which include Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays.

Its exact debt was unclear but £647m of borrowing was reported to be within the business at the end of April 2010.