Bosses at Next have announced it is to close 11 stores by the end of the year in the latest blow to the high street.
The retail giant said of the 11 stores set to close: six are not expected to hit their targets, two are down to their locations not being developed, and three are due to agreements not being reached with their current landlords.
However, the names and locations of the 11 stores have not yet been released. The news comes after the company closed its huge store inside Westfield Stratford City, in London.
In a statement, Next Trading said: “We expect to close 11 mainline stores this year.
“Six closures are in locations where we forecast that the store would not achieve our target margin on almost any terms; two closures are due to the site being redeveloped; three further closures are as a result of being unable to agree acceptable new terms with landlords.
“This last category includes one large store where the length of the lease proposed by the landlord, on a high fixed rent charge, was not something we could agree to.”
Since the start of the year, a number of high street chains have announced closures across the UK, including New Look, Boots, Asda Living, Wilko and Iceland.
Some of the closures have been down to a decrease in sales, as more and more households rein in their spending during the cost-of-living crisis. Others were simply down to business decisions.
Boots revealed this year that it plans to shut 300 of its stores while Sainsbury’s, the owner of Lloyds Pharmacy, shared that it will shut its pharmacy sites located within its supermarkets.
Homeware brand Habitat announced it will be closing its last three remaining stand-alone sites while its owner, Sainsbury’s, confirmed its customers were increasingly making purchases online rather than in-store.
Elsewhere, frozen foods supermarket Iceland has closed 11 of its sites though it has not made any announcements to confirm the closures.
Wilko announced they had fallen into administration last month, and had around 400 stores with 12,500 staff before the company collapsed.
Wilko administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers tried to find a buyer for the company, but all deals fell through and it now has dates for 280 of its stores to close by early October, resulting in around 900 job losses.
The remaining 120 Wilko store closures and dates are yet to be announced.
Meanwhile, its rival stores B&M and Poundland have taken on a number of Wilko’s site to rebrand as their own. B&M has snapped up 51 sites and Poundland 71. The deals have not automatically saved Wilko staff working at these sites from job losses, though Poundland has said it will prioritise Wilko staff for job interviews.
Another competitor, The Range has also stepped in and bought the Wilko brand, website and intellectual property. This means it can now sell Wilko products within its stores but does not include any of its physical sites.
Happy Valley actress Sarah Lancashire wins performance of the year award
Happy Valley star Sarah Lancashire won the Rose d‘Or Award for her portrayal of Catherine Cawood in the BBC drama.
The Rose d’Or Awards is a prestigious ceremony celebrating international excellence in entertainment programming. The 62nd event was held in London and hosted by comedian and writer David Baddiel.
Collecting her performance of the year award, Lancashire said: “This is thrilling, [I want to] thank those who are responsible for bringing this amazing series to screen.”
Happy Valley is an award-winning British crime drama set in the Calder Valley area of West Yorkshire, written by Sally Wainwright.
The series, which aired on BBC One, follows Lancashire in the role of no-nonsense copper Sergeant Catherine Cawood who comes up against James Norton’s character; evil criminal Tommy Lee Royce – who Sergeant Cawood holds responsible for her daughter’s suicide.
The gripping series concluded earlier this year and has been receiving a raft of nods for performances, as well as for the show itself, ever since.
The BBC also scooped best documentary for The Man Who Played With Fire while ITV’s The 1% Club, hosted by comedian Lee Mack, picked up the award for studio entertainment.
British series A Whole Lifetime With Jamie Demetriou also took home the best comedy entertainment award on the night.
In his acceptance speech, Demetriou said: “What a lovely looking award this is. It needs to be said, David’s opening monologue is honestly one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard.”
Lancashire, Dayan and Edebiri join previous recipients of Rose d’Or special awards, including Sir David Attenborough, Brian Cox, Ricky Gervais, Joanna Lumley, James Corden, John Cleese and the late Dame Angela Lansbury.
The Rose d’Or Awards has defined the gold standard for excellence and achievement in International TV and Audio programme making since 1961.
Mum opens accessible chippy so autistic son ‘has a job for life’
She opened the chippy after a stranger made a comment about her son online
A mum from Lancashire has opened up a chippy so that her autistic son ‘has a job for life’, after a stranger’s comment online.
Gillian Jervis opened Oliver’s Chippy in Warton, near Blackpool, after a stranger’s comments on a forum online – calling her son Oliver ‘a burden on the state’ – prompted her to prove them wrong.
About the comment, Gillian told ITV News: “I sometimes think I dreamt the comment and that I made it all up, because why would you say something like that?
“Have I read it wrong? I went through all of those emotions – it knocked me sideways.”
The mum-of-four decided to start a business in her son’s name and opened Oliver’s Chippy in 2021 – where Gillian is already training the 12-year-old so that he can take over when he grows up.
On why she chose to open a chip shop business for Oliver she said: “It gives him his structure, it’s a bit like school; his daily routine that he has to have.
“What you end up doing everyday – prepping the food, serving the food, making up the food, stocking the fridges… he’ll learn all that before he starts at sixteen.”
Oliver’s autism means he has some communication difficulties though he is able to express himself in other ways.
The chippy is built with facilities to help people with communication and accessibility issues by using visual screens on the tills instead of words and phrases.
As Gillian explains: “You’ve got people with a stutter, so I’ve looked at it this way. Before people start to speak, they look at pictures don’t they?
“It’s better to see a picture of what you want, it gives you the confidence to come into my shop and order what you want without saying it.”
Not only do these images help Oliver, they also help customers who may communicate better with visual aids. Not only this, the chippy also offers services to help make it easier for all neurodivergent people to place their orders.
Gillian said: “We do have a disability point access, we do have a ramp, we do have a visual menu.
“If you came in and you want your order all separate and you said ‘jigsaw’ we know that it means everything’s separate.” The chippy can make sure different food isn’t touching others by offering cartons with separated sections.
Since opening, the chip shop has fed more than 1,300 children and supported other families across the Fylde Coast. This includes giving away a family holiday, an iPad, air fryer and over 100 competition meals.
She continued: “We had the cost of living crisis, fuel shortages, the after effects of Covid and people not working as they were, with people losing their jobs due to Covid as well.
“So I just said to Arran, ‘shall we feed the kids for free?’ He said ‘yes – but how are we going to do it?’ I said ‘I don’t know, but we’ll find a way of doing it’.”
Opening in 2021 during the pandemic, the first Easter holidays saw the chip shop take a financial hit as it gave out free meals for children in the area.
But during the summer holidays later that same year, the business was supported by Bryning with Warton Parish Council as a Go Fund Me was started to raise the funds.
Elderly woman, 82, dies after being hit by vehicle on main road
An 82-year-old woman has sadly died after being hit by a vehicle on a main road in Tameside yesterday.
The elderly woman was critically injured in the collision which happened on Manchester Road, in Audenshaw, at around 5.55pm on Monday, November 20th.
Emergency services rushed to the scene, close to the Snipe Retail Park, and an ambulance took her to hospital.
The driver of the vehicle, a 31-year-old woman, remained at the scene and has continued to assist police with enquiries.
Greater Manchester Police have confirmed the woman has now died from her injuries and are appealing for witnesses of the collision to come forward to help them with their investigations.
Confirming the tragic update in a statement, the force said: “At around 5.55pm on Monday November 20th, Greater Manchester Police were called to reports of a road traffic collision between a vehicle and a pedestrian on Manchester Road, Audenshaw.
“An 82-year-old woman who was taken to hospital in a serious condition has since sadly died from her injuries.
“The driver of the vehicle, a 31-year-old woman, remained at the scene and is continuing to assist police with enquiries.
“Police would like to speak to anyone who may have witnessed the collision – and are continuing to appeal for anyone with relevant mobile, dashcam or CCTV footage to please come forward.”
Members of the public can submit information and footage by calling 0161 856 4741 quoting log 2797 of 20/11/23. You can also report information online using the LiveChat function on the website: www.gmp.police.uk.