Future of Alan Ward stores in doubt as premises remain shut
The future surrounding Shropshire furniture retailer Alan Ward is in doubt, with its stores still closed after Covid-19 lockdown measures were eased.
Alan Ward has stores in Shrewsbury, Chester, Newcastle-under-Lyme and Winsford, but despite non-essential stores being able to open from Monday, they have remained closed.
The Shropshire Star has been contacted by many concerned customers suggesting that the company has gone into liquidation and staff have been made redundant.
But no one from the company has been available to confirm this.
A statement on its website says: "Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, all our stores are currently closed and the majority of our staff are furloughed.
"The safety and wellbeing of our staff and customers remain our utmost priority."
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A former employee who did not wish to be named said the company had gone into liquidation and that staff from all stores and the distribution centre have been made redundant.
Eighteen people worked in the store and approximately 16 in head office, which is attached to the same building. The distribution centre, based at Battlefield, employed approximately 20 people.
The company was formed in 1970, when Alan and Joan Hopkins opened their first store – a small carpet shop in Golden Cross Passage, Shrewsbury – with the help of a £500 bank loan.
The firm outgrew its premises and moved to an out-of-town location in Harlescott in 1983.
In the 1990s it expanded and opened stores in Chester, Newcastle-under-Lyme and Winsford.
The company said it was a "sad day" after delaying the move to shut the yarn-spinning plant when lockdown hit three months ago.
It is understood that another 57 staff at Texplan, the firm's warehouse, and call centre – all based in Newtown – were told on Tuesday that they will be made redundant next month.