Staff prepare for final day

ALLDERS staff in Ipswich were making last-minute preparations today for the final closure of the department store tomorrow.The tills will ring for the last time after 10 years of trading in Ipswich when the Allders doors close at 4.

ALLDERS staff in Ipswich were making last-minute preparations today for the final closure of the department store tomorrow.

The tills will ring for the last time after 10 years of trading in Ipswich when the Allders doors close at 4.30pm tomorrow.

Some of the troubled department store chain's more than 200 Ipswich staff will continue working at the store until Thursday , when the last remaining employees will lose their jobs.

Former store manager David Shotton, who moved to Ipswich in 1999 to take up his first management post with Allders, said: "You can see they're just very, very sad."

Mr Shotton, of Wokingham, Berkshire, added: "Allders had a difficult beginning in Ipswich because it was a name people weren't familiar with but over the years it has become a name people have liked.

"It was a very, very happy time for me."

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Richard Ussher-Smith, a former director at Allders who set up a website called Allders Reunited to help staff keep in contact after the closure, added: "There's a lot of emotion in there. People are sad and shocked and angry. This shouldn't have happened."

Allders, which has suffered continued losses, was placed into administration after its owners, the Scarlett Retail, were unable to find a buyer.

The Ipswich store is one of at least 11 of Allders' 45 stores nationwide which will close as a result of the company's slide into administration.

Twenty-four of the stores have been sold, with ten going to Bhs, eight to Debenhams and six to Primark.

Administrators Kroll said negotiations were continuing in attempts to find a buyer for the Ipswich store but a spokesman added it could not be kept open indefinitely in the hope a buyer would be found.

He said: "We're trying to do everything we can.

"We can't wait indefinitely, we have to take steps.

"A number of stores are closing on Sunday and there will be a few days with employees tying up loose ends."

Since the announcement that it was to close the management of the Buttermarket centre have been working to find a new tenant for the 120,000 square feet store.

The centre's manager Colin Roberts said those negotiations were continuing.

He said: "There is some progress.

"We are talking quite seriously to a number of hefty names."

Weblink: www.alders.co.uk

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