Huge home and garden store permanently closed after collapse of company

A HUGE home and garden store has permanently closed after the collapse of the company. JTF Warehouse, which had a branch on Chesford Grange in Woolston, has shut all of its 12 outlets across the UK after entering administration. Around 500 jobs have been lost nationwide, with staff having been informed that they would be made redundant by email earlier this week.

The retailer pointed to the effects of the coronavirus[1] pandemic as playing a large part in its demise, which comes after a deal to sell the business reportedly fell through. It had been previously trading for more than 40 years. According to its social media page, the Warrington store – which first opened in 2005 – was temporarily shut last month ahead of a planned ‘grand relaunch’.

But customers had been experiencing long-standing issues with the amount of goods available for sale at the unit. One commented on Facebook that the shop had been ‘more or less empty for months’, while another added there had been ‘nothing in stock for ages’. Discounts of up to 75 per cent had been offered on some products leading up to the closure.

Meanwhile, law firm Simpson Millar says it has been contacted by a number of workers who are hoping to take legal action against the consortium that owns the chain. It is now in the ‘early stages of investigations to enable appropriate legal action to be brought’. Head of employment law Damian Kelly said: “The current situation is making it difficult for many companies across most industries and it is no surprise that retail giants – and particularly those that are so reliant on physical footfall – are being significantly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Sadly in this instance, we understand that there had been a buyer for the business but that the sale will no longer be taking place. “As a result, the number of employees who are facing redundancy is really quite significant. “While some companies are struggling because of the pandemic, they still have a duty under current employment law legislation to carry out a proper consultation with staff at risk of redundancies.

“Where that does not happen, employees can bring a claim for a protective award.” This would enable staff to access funds via the Government’s Insolvency Service. Mr Kelly added: “When people are made redundant the first thing they normally do is look for another job, but in the current climate new jobs are very rare and competition for each role is significant. “As a result, people are having to prioritise taking measures like applying for Universal Credit and mortgage[2] holidays in order to be able to survive financially.

“While the process to claim for a protective award will not result in an influx of cash immediately, legal protection remains in place to support people who are made redundant without being taken through the correct consultation process and the money recovered in successful claims will provide some longer term security for those affected.”

References

  1. ^ coronavirus (www.warringtonguardian.co.uk)
  2. ^ mortgage (www.thisismoneyback.co.uk)