Fashion retailer Next to close its Peterborough Queensgate store
Fashion chain Next is to permanently close its store in Peterborough’s Queensgate shopping centre.
Staff were told last week that the retailer plans to shut the two-storey store at the end of May.
It is understood that Next, the UK’s biggest clothing retailer, is looking to find alternative jobs for its Queensgate staff at its other stores around the region.
It is estimated that 25 to 50 staff work at the store.
Next also operates a store at the Serpentine Green shopping centre, in Hampton, and a Next Home store at the Brotherhood Retail Park, in Lincoln Road.
A spokesman for Next said: “I can confirm that Next will be closing its store in Queensgate Shopping Centre, Peterborough and that staff are aware of this.
He added: “Next’s nearby stores at Brotherhood Retail Park and Serpentine Green are not affected.”
A member of staff, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “Everyone was very surprised, some angry, some just shocked.
“All staff and those at surrounding stores were briefed last week.
“They’re looking to fill positions at surrounding stores with our staff to keep as many people in work as possible.”
The closure of Next will heap more misery on managers of the 39-year-old Queensgate shopping centre coming just weeks after department chain John Lewis revealed its four-storey store in the mall would not reopen as lockdown eased on April 12.
The move puts 318 jobs at risk and has largely been blamed on the Covid-19 pandemic, which the retailer says has accelerated shoppers’ move online.
While John Lewis announced a £517 million loss for last year as it struggled to cope with changes to trading, Next has performed well in the face of the pandemic with the success of its e-commerce business a shining example to other retailers.
Its share price surged to a record high last week after the Leicester headquartered retailer revealed a 60 per cent rise in web sales for the past two months compared with 2019.
Next has seen demand soar during lockdown for its so-called stay-at-home basics such as joggers, slippers, children’s clothing, patio sets and cushions.
However, despite the difference in performance both companies have one stark similarity - a presence in the Queensgate shopping centre.
Figures produced by John Lewis last month revealed that when shops were allowed to reopen last summer, shopping centres saw the steepest decline in visitor numbers – a fall of 48 per cent – compared to those in retail parks, high streets and standalones.
It might explain why both have chosen to leave the Queensgate centre.