Fenwick shifts online as store in Leicester shuts down
London - The first UK high street closure of 2017 has taken place as Fenwick is set to close its department store in Leicester over the next coming months. But shoppers needs to fear not a total loss of Fenwick, as the retail announced the launch of its debut online store Thursday morning.
The Leicester store's closure comes after 55 years of trading and has been linked to declining footfall, as well as a shift in consumer shopping habits to shopping more online. Located on Market Street, in the city centre, Fenwick Leicester has been trading since 1962. However, over the recent years, much of visitor footfall has been "diverted" away from the shopping area towards Highcross shopping centre and Fosse Park retail park, leaving Fenwick's and other retailers in the area struggle to attract sufficient shoppers.
Fenwick to close Leicester department store for good
"Together, these factors have meant the store has been unable to perform in line with expectations, despite the best efforts of the Leicester store management and employees," said a Fenwick spokesman in a statement. "Fenwick will now begin a consultation period with its employees. During this time the store will continue trading as normal under the leadership of David Illingworth." An exact closure date has yet to be formally announced, although the store is likely to shut its doors in March.
Close to 100 members of staff are set to lose their jobs are part of the store closure. "This has been a very difficult decision for us, as we have been committed to serving the people of Leicester for over 50 years, but the challenging trading environment and gradual loss of footfall, has made it impossible for us to find a way forward that enables the business to trade successfully," said Mark Fenwick, Group chairman and fifth generation of Fenwick's founding family. "Looking after our Leicester employees and customers will now be a top priority."
News of the store closure comes after Fenwick warned it was struggling with "extremely challenging" period within the retail sector late last year. Unable to attract enough shoppers to their physical store, Fenwick also suffered due to their lack of e-commerce. The company currently runs an information website, but aims to step into e-commerce this year. At the moment, Fenwick counts 11 stores in the UK, including its flagship store on New Bond Street in London and its revamped store in Colchester. The closure in Leicester comes as Fenwick plans to open a new store in Bracknell later this year.
Photo: By Love Art Nouveau [CC BY 2.0 ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons