Preston's JTF Mega Discount Warehouse closes permanently after company collapses
Preston's JTF Mega Discount Warehouse has permanently closed after the company entered into administration.
The huge store in Pittman Way, Fulwood sold a variety of goods at discount prices - including home furnishings, DIY and gardening supplies, fireworks, clothes, food and drink.
It is one of 12 outlets across the UK that has closed after the chain entered into administration last week, with around 500 jobs lost.
The company has entered into an insolvency procedure called a corporate voluntary arrangement, according to Companies House.
It has been reported that staff, including those working at the Preston store, were made redundant without warning and with immediate effect on Tuesday, July 20.
This has led to a reports that a number of workers are seeking legal action against the consortium that owns the chain.
Law firm Simpson Millar says it is now representing these staff and it is in the "early stages of investigations to enable appropriate legal action to be brought".
The retailer blamed the coronavirus lockdowns for playing a large part in its demise, which was announced last week after a deal to sell the business reportedly fell through.
The forced closures of its stores wiped out fireworks and Christmas sales - two of its largest seasonal items.
In the weeks leading up to its closure, the Preston branch had been advertising an "everything must go sale" with discounts of up to 75 per cent. It promoted the price cuts as a "Summer Sale" and did not allude to its imminent closure.
Damian Kelly, head of employment law at Simpson Millar, said: "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."
The law firm said 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 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."
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