Firm’s sadness at shop’s demise

Costs: Greenwooods menswear on Orchard Street, Preston
Costs: Greenwooods menswear on Orchard Street, Preston
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Bosses of menswear firm Greenwoods today spoke of their sadness of having to close a Preston city centre store.

The firm – which has had a shop in the city for more than 50 years – is shutting its Orchard Street store with the loss of three jobs.

The firm’s retail consultant Mark Fitzsimmons said the decision was taken with extreme regret and was a reflection of the battle for small outlets to remain profitable on the high street.

Mr Fitzsimmons said when a shop was making a marginal profit or even a loss a business decision had to be made.

He said: “There are some loss-making stores, and if despite our best efforts we can’t turn it around it has to be closed.

“It’s a great shame. No-one has tried harder to save the operation.

“These decisions are not taken lightly and it’s the last thing that a retailer wants to do.”

Mr Fitzsimmons said another Greenwoods store – in Kendal – was also closing, and the trend was a reflection of changes in the high street, more competition and the internet shopping boom.

Rates, rent and other overheads also came into the equation.

He said part of the problem was that smaller sized premises found it more difficult to make a profit.

“It’ s a reflection of the turnover that the store is doing and the overhead costs – rates, rent and so on.

“Based on the turnover of the store it was not viable.

“Menswear is very different to ladieswear where profit margins are considerably higher.

“It’s a real challenge in the high street at the moment. There are too many shops and the internet is having an enormous impact.”

Greenwoods Menswear Ltd opened its first shop in 1860 in Bradford City Centre selling hats to the wool Barons of Yorkshire.

It is renowned for its suit hire and currently has more than 70 branches.

Last week the Evening Post highlighted the ongoing number of empty shops in Preston city centre.

Five years after the recession started to bite, we found there were still more than 100 empty shops within a few minutes’ walk of the Town Hall.

But Preston council chiefs say the situation is improving and plans are in place.