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Jobs at risk as two Original Factory Shop branches to shut in Shropshire

By Sue Austin | Oswestry | News | Published:

Two branches of a bargain shop are to close in Shropshire - the latest retail blow for the county.

The Original Factory Shop in Oswestry. Photo: Google

The Original Factory Shop is closing its stores in Oswestry and Church Stretton later this month.

But the company says its Whitchurch, Bridgnorth and Market Drayton stores will remain open.

In a statement the company revealed that it was having to close 32 of its 200 plus stores across the UK.

The Oswestry store is situated in the town's former cinema, on the corner of Leg Street and English Walls, while the Church Stretton shop stands in Lutwyche Rd in the town.

But it isn't all bad news - 17 new jobs will be created when fabric and home retailer Abakhan opens later this month in Shrewsbury.

The store will open on the week beginning August 20 in the former Maplin store.

The countrywide store closures for The Orginal Factory Shop are part of a Company Voluntary Agreement that will allow the company, also known as TOFS, to remain trading while it deals with its finances.

It has not commented on the number of jobs that will be lost.

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Eleanor Purdon, spokesperson for the retailer, said: "The Oswestry store’s closing sale has started ahead of closing at the end of next week or thereabouts.

"This is part of the broader closure of 32 stores through the CVA process.

"It means new investment and the debt write-off from lenders will go ahead, putting the business on a much stronger, financial footing to deliver the turnaround plan.

"While this is a tough measure, reflective of the broader retail environment, it is good news that TOFS will be in pole position to push ahead with their new strategy."

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Earlier this year the retailer posted a 3.7 per cent fall in revenues from £190.2 million for the year to April 2018 to £183.2 million.

The Company Voluntary Agreement document said the company had net liabilities of £286m and that it had been underperforming for some time.

The Original Factory Shop is the latest to turn to a CVA to keep it afloat on the High Street while it re-structures.

House of Fraser is one of a number of high street stores to seek a CVAs amid the plummet in sales in retailing.

Shops have been hammered by Brexit-fuelled inflation, soaring business rates and falling consumer confidence.

Toys R Us and Maplin collapsed earlier this year, while eatery chains including Prezzo, Byron and Jamie's Italian have also been affected, with restaurants closing and jobs disappearing.

Sue Austin

By Sue Austin
Chief Reporter

Chief reporter of the Oswestry/Mid Wales office. Keen to hear your news.

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