One of the oldest surviving independent department stores in the country, Lewis’s of Liverpool, is to cease trading.
Staff, who are said to be “devastated”, were told of the decision yesterday. The closure means the loss of over 200 jobs, and a store closing-down programme has begun today.
Lewis’s was founded in 1856, and is now owned by Vergo Retail within a building owned by Merepark. However, Merepark now wants to develop the site as a hotel and leisure complex when Vergo Retail’s lease expires in June.
Announcing the closure, Vergo Retail managing director David Thompson said: “It has now become apparent from Merepark that once the scheduled works commence it would be impossible for us to continue trading from within this building. However, we will continue talking to the landlord about possible space within any new development, but at this stage no new lease has been agreed.
“The clearing of the store will start immediately and includes around £5m-worth of stock as well as many fixtures and fittings.”
He added his thanks to “the generations of Liverpool people who have shopped with us throughout the years”.
Lewis’s departments include a cookshop along with sections for small appliances and tableware and glassware.