HoF reopens; fashion chain for sale...

Recovering Co-op opens stores across UK

Co-op (website)The Co-operative Group has signalled a milestone in its recovery by unveiling plans for 100 stores and 1,500 jobs across the UK.

It is investing £70 million in the expansion in Scotland, London, south-east England, and Yorkshire. Fifteen stores will open in Scotland.

The company is in the final phase of a three-year turnaround programme following a period of turmoil mainly involving its banking group.

It opened 100 stores in 2016 and said the additional investment will increase the number of Co-op employees across the country to more than 5,700.

Figures show year-on-year sales growth.

> House of Fraser will reopen its Princes St, Edinburgh, store today after it closed all day yesterday after the death of an employee. The circumstances surrounding the 30-year-old are being investigated.

> Business restructuring partners BDO were appointed administrators for Edinburgh-based Ness Clothing on 23 December.

The company, based in Henderson Place Lane, is an independent women’s fashion and accessories label operating 10 stores in Scotland and five in England, as well as four concessions. 

All 105 staff based at its head office and chain of outlets have been retained and the administrators will trade the company while seeking to sell the businesss as a going concern. 

James Stephen, BDO business restructuring partner, said: “Notwithstanding the improving sales trend, with like-for-like sales up 12% over the last 12 months, the company experienced working capital difficulties.

“Nevertheless, Ness is a unique brand and remains a highly popular shopping destination for its loyal customer base, in towns across Scotland and England and we are confident of securing a sale of the company as a going concern.

“We have already received expressions of interest and we encourage other interested parties to come forward. The company will continue to trade whilst a sale is explored and all stores will remain open.”

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