Mayor Stevenson’s sadness as Peacocks close Ballymoney shop

BALLYMONEY Mayor Ian Stevenson expressed his disappointment over eleven jobs being lost as the town’s branch of multi-national clothing retailer, Peacocks, announced it was shutting with “immediate effect”.

The announcement was made on Wednesday February 22 that 19 Peacocks stores across Northern Ireland were pulling down the shutters.

A number of stores across the UK closed and across Northern Ireland 250 jobs are going.

The business was placed into administration in January and has now been sold to the Scottish retailer, Edinburgh Woollen Mill, which means ten stores will remain open in Northern Ireland, saving 140 jobs.

The stores closing are in Bangor, Craigavon, Carrickfergus, Antrim, Ballymoney, Banbridge, Ballynahinch, Ballyclare, Magherafelt, Lisburn, Ballymena, Portadown, Londonderry, Cookstown, Coleraine and Blooomfield in Bangor.

The three Belfast branches to close are in the Park Centre, Cityside and its flagship branch at Donegall Place in the city centre.

Chris Laverty from KPMG, who were acting as administrators, said: “Today’s deal ensures the continued trading of a well known name on the high street.

“While it is unfortunate that redundancies have been necessary, we are pleased that we have been able to preserve the majority of the business and jobs.”

Peacocks, with 611 stores and 49 concessions across Britain, had employed 9,100 people.

But it went into administration in January having failed to restructure a key £240 million part of its total £750 million debt.

Peacocks had suffered from a decline in consumer spending due to the tough economic conditions.

A spokesperson confirmed the Ballymoney store has shut and eleven jobs are affected.

Mayor Stevenson told the Times: “I am sad to hear a shop is shutting in the town. Peacocks has been here for a long time and they added to the shopping experience in Ballymoney.

“It is a sad day for the people working there because Peacocks brought much needed jobs and contributed to the local economy and it sad that the Ballymoney outlet had to be one of those which are closing.”

As the focus now switches to attracting new business to the site of the Peacocks store in the Meetinghouse Street area of Ballymoney, Mayor Stevenson said he is keen to see progress.

He said the Council is always looking to attract new businesses to the town.