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Monday, 24 November 2014

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Hoopers to close Carlisle department store

One of Carlisle’s most iconic city centre department stores, Hoopers, is to close after it failed to turn around losses running into six figures.

The Castle Street store, which opened in 2006, is shut from today until Friday as staff prepare for a massive clearance sale before the store closes permanently in June.

Hoopers managing director Anne Horton said today: “It’s down to the economic environment: we can’t afford to sustain the kind of losses we have made at this store over the past few years. They run well into six figures.

“Unfortunately, in spite of the best efforts of all concerned and significant investment in the property, we have had to conclude that Hoopers’ style of trading has not been a success in Carlisle and the store is no longer sustainable.

“Alternative solutions continue to be investigated while we embark upon a full consultation with all affected staff.”

The store, which employs 83 staff, will re-open on Friday, with the sale starting on Saturday, and will continue trading until its proposed closure on June 23.

Mrs Horton said that the closure announcement had come as a surprise to the staff, who were very upset at the news.

The store sells clothes, shoes, accessories, perfumes, cosmetics, cook shop goods and gifts and brought new brands to the city like Armani Jeans and Juicy Couture.

Hoopers, which began in Torquay in 1982, is a group of high quality department stores trading in places like Wilmslow, Tunbridge Wells and Harrogate.

The remaining Hoopers stores are unaffected by the closure of the Carlisle shop.

Shoppers who were passing the store this morning expressed their sadness at the loss of such a big player in the city’s retail sector.

Carlisle woman Christine Butterworth said: “I think it’s dreadful.

“We don’t really have any big independent stores now, just the commercial chain stores like M&S, and Debenhams. It’s sad.

“Hoopers was definitely special. The staff are pleasant and there’s no hassle and the restaurant is always clean.”

The store was formerly home to Bulloughs, a family run store, that opened as a drapers in 1910.

Under the leadership of Edward Bullough – great-grandson of founder Arthur – the store had attempted to re-brand away from its core over 40s market by stocking more modern brands.

Bulloughs closed in 2006 when it was sold to Hoopers.

Before it closed, it had been struggling, as competition from other High Street stores intensified.

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