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Carlisle's Hoopers department store to close for good

Carlisle's troubled Hoopers department store is closing again – this time for good.

Hoopers photo

Hoopers mothballed its premises in Castle Street last August only to re-open as a discount designer outlet in October after a proposed sale to Edinburgh Woollen Mill chairman Philip Day fell through.

The store was shut once more yesterday while human resources manager Jane Tankard briefed the remaining 23 staff on the closure plans.

It is likely they will be made redundant.

Hoopers was due to re-open for a closing-down sale today and is likely to shut for good on Saturday, March 9, although the date has yet to be confirmed. Marketing co-ordinator Tanya Kavanagh-Lewis said: “The store is just not viable for us. Hoopers have tried desperately to sell the site but unfortunately it all fell through.

“We have traded it as an outlet store but it’s not financially viable. It’s a sign of the times. Everyone has done everything they could to make it a success – it is a beautiful location.”

The three-storey building, opposite Carlisle Cathedral, has been offered for sale since the autumn with a £2m price tag.

Agent Storeys Edward Symmons says there has been interest from a “variety of people” including occupiers, investors and developers, not necessarily for retail use.

But Ms Kavanagh-Lewis said the company was not in discussions with any potential buyer.

The talks with Mr Day stalled last September and have not re-opened.

An official statement from Hoopers says: “Alternative solutions continue to be investigated while we embark upon full consultation with all affected staff.”

Hoopers is an established operator of upmarket department stores.

The other branches at Harrogate, Torquay, Wilmslow and Tunbridge Wells continue to trade as normal.

Hoopers has been in Carlisle since 2006 when it bought out the 96-year-old family concern Bulloughs.

Ian Bullough, the retired managing director of Bulloughs, was saddened by the latest announcement.

He said: “Apart from the history, I’m sorry for the remaining staff. It’s not easy to get fixed up with other work at the moment.

“When Hoopers was operating it as an outlet store at least there was activity on Castle Street. Now it looks as if there will be no activity there and that’s not good for the city.”

The city council is opening talks with Hoopers to ensure the empty building does not become an eyesore.

Deputy leader Colin Glover said: “This is disappointing because the outlet store was a good use of the site. It’s an iconic site opposite the cathedral.

“We need to have discussions with Hoopers to see what options there are to make sure the shop front remains attractive while it is marketed. We don’t want to see it boarded up.”

Hoopers is the latest in a series of Carlisle stores to close in recent months.

Homeware store Living Inspiration in English Street is due to close shortly while fashion chain Republic, which has a branch in The Lanes, went into administration last week.

Have your say

Primark...blah blah blah...primark.

Posted by Brian on 27 February 2013 at 12:01

Primark...blah blah blah...primark.

Posted by Brian on 27 February 2013 at 12:01

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