Poor sales leads to closure of Doncaster's Clas Ohlson

Shop tills will soon stop ringing at a major Doncaster town centre retailer with news that it is set to close its doors this summer.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 27th April 2016, 7:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 27th April 2016, 10:43 am
Doncaster Chamber networking event at The Earl of Doncaster Hotel. Pictured is Dan Fell, CEO at Doncaster Chamber.
Doncaster Chamber networking event at The Earl of Doncaster Hotel. Pictured is Dan Fell, CEO at Doncaster Chamber.

Clas Ohlson, which has had a store in the Frenchgate Centre since December 2010 and employs 15 members of staff, said this week that the move to shut in June follows lower than expected sales.

A spokesman for the Swedish hardware store chain and mail-order firm, that specialises in hardware, home, leisure, electrical and multimedia products, said: “Since launching Clas Ohlson in the UK, overall, we have been encouraged by the consumers’ response to many of our stores.

“However, still as a relatively new brand in the UK we have to make adjustments whilst we grow and on this occasion we have taken the tough decision to close stores where we have lower than expected sales and profitability levels.”

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The move comes on the back of more bad news for the retail market with the announcement that family favourite BHS this week went into administration.

While there is no plans yet to close any of its 164 branches, which includes one also in Doncaster’s Frenchgate, it spells an uncertain future for the 11,000 employees.

BHS has been in business for 88 years and at the heart of Doncaster’s shopping centre for four decades.

The company was bought last year by a consortium called Retail Acquisitions for £1 from retail entrepreneur Sir Philip Green.

The retailer has debts of more than £1.3 billion, including a pension fund deficit of £571 million.

Doncaster Chamber’s CEO Dan Fell said: “As widely reported in the national media, the retail sector is still facing challenging times as the long term impact of the global recession continues to be felt.

“Doncaster, as with all towns, will occasionally feel the effects of this.

“Increasingly it is important for town centres – such as Doncaster – to be re-imagined as places that blend retail, commercial, leisure, learning and residential activity; that way, we will foster and create the vibrant and welcoming town centre that all partners want to see in Doncaster.”

He added: “I am confident that we have already embarked on that journey but, inevitably, national events – such as the demise of BHS – will create unforeseen setbacks.”

The Frenchgate Centre has yet to receive confirmation of the Clas Ohlson closure so declined to comment.