Talks are continuing this weekend in a bid to prevent the closure of the Internacionale clothing store in Portadown’s High Street Mall.
But there was no reprieve for the Xtra-vision store in the Meadows Retail Park which closed its doors for the final time on Wednesday.
The shop employed two full-time and four permanent part-time staff. When the Portadown Times called on the penultimate day, the manager said that he was not permitted to comment on the fate of the local store, or on the Xtra-vision situation in general. “We close tomorrow, and naturally we’re very sad,” he added.
At High Street Mall, centre manager Tracey Jackson said management was optimistic that the branch of Internacionale could survive.
“We are in negotiations with the agents,” said Ms Jackson. “We should know the outcome within a week or so, and we are optimistic.”
Internacionale Retail Limited went into administration in the early summer, but was rescued by Ersnt and Young who sold the business as a pre-pack administration, safeguarding 1,550 jobs throughout the UK, with the new company known as Internacionale UK Limited.
The firm has 114 stores throughout the UK – eight in Northern Ireland – and it is thought that Portadown was down for closure, with a re-assessment of the NI stores.
Castle Court in Belfast is among those being considered for closure, although the Rushmere branch is reported not to be included in the closure programme.
Ms Jackson said that company – which is based in Glasgow – was having talks with the mall owners and the agents, and the hope was that a deal would emerge.
High Street Mall has lost a number of national clients in the recent downturn including Clinton Cards and Au Naturale, formerly the Woolworths store.
However, Ms Jackson said a new store, My Tech Computer sales/repairs and software, opened this month, while Gordon’s Chemist had made a significant financial investment in the refit of their shop.