Two more national retailers have closed their Sutton Coldfield stores with the town still reeling from the news a high street giant is planning to leave too.
Electrical goods retailer, Hughes, based at Newhall Walk, and jeweller, Ernest Jones, based in the Gracechurch Centre have shut up shop this week.
White goods retailer, Hughes, occupied one of three units on the Newhall Walk park in the town centre and now leaves a gaping retail hole, with Halfords having long departed its central site.
While Ernest Jones has departed from Sutton’s mini ‘jewellery quarter’ having been positioned opposite recent Gracechurch arrivals, Atkinson’s and near to Beaverbrooks.
A spokesman for Hughes Electrical said: “As a business we are not immune from the downturn on the High Street which means, regrettably, we have to take tough decisions.
“With the lease on the premises in Sutton Coldfield ending, it was decided not to renew it.
“We are currently in consultation with the six members of staff and are hopeful some will be offered alternative positions within the group.
“Rental customers will be looked after from our branch at: Voyager Drive, Orbital Retail Centre, Cannock, telephone: 01543 222000.”
The Ernest Jones store closed last Saturday (January 26), with workmen in on Tuesday (January 29) ‘ripping the interior out’ according to a workman spotted outside.
A spokeswoman for parent company, Signet UK Jewelers said: “We continually re-assess our portfolio of stores on a store by store basis, particularly when individual store leases come up for renewal.
“This particular closure bears no reflection upon the future plans of the Signet business estate overall within the UK.
“We are sorry to be leaving Gracechurch Shopping Centre, however we do have a store 30 minutes away at Birmingham Bullring and wide online offering at www.ernestjones.co.uk with next day delivery service.”
A spokesperson for The Gracechurch Centre said: “Leases with our tenants are always for a fixed period and Ernest Jones naturally came to the end of its lease at the Gracechurch Centre. As part of the natural turnover of retailers’ leases and store portfolios, Ernest Jones decided not to renew in this case.
“Despite the challenging national retail market, our agents are in discussions with businesses about joining the brand line-up at the Gracechurch Centre and we hope to be able to share more news soon.”
The two latest closures follow the announcement on January 15 that Marks and Spencer is consulting on closing one of the Gracechurch Centre’s key stores. M&S announced 17 planned closures around the country as it re-evaluates its store portfolio. That decision places 96 Sutton jobs at risk and 1,045 jobs under threat nationwide.
Sacha Berendji, property director at Marks & Spencer, said: "We're continuing to transform M&S with pace and as part of this we are making good progress with our plans to close over 100 stores - radically reshaping our store estate to become more relevant for our customers.
"Proposing to close stores is never easy, for our colleagues, customers or the local community, but it is vital for the future of M&S.
"Where we have closed stores, we are continuing to see an encouraging number of customers choosing other nearby locations and shopping on M&S.com."