Home shopping company Empire Stores is to close, with the loss of some 850 jobs.
Empire Stores was the UK’s first home shopping brand, currently celebrating 175 years in business. However, it operates in the declining agency market and has been increasingly hit by the rapid growth of high street value retailers, online traders and the availability of alternative financing options for credit.
Empire Stores’ owner, Redcats, said the loss-making business had no prospect of recovery, and especially in an environment made worse by the credit squeeze and fragile customer confidence.
The shutdown of Empire Stores is expected to be completed by next January and could involve the loss of approximately 350 jobs at the company’s headquarters in Bradford and a further 500 at a warehousing and distribution base in Wakefield.
Redcats is the number two player in clothing through mail order and number five in home shopping. The company says it now wants to invest in web-driven brands in the direct home shopping market, which means focussing on its existing brands La Redoute, Vertbaudet and Daxon.
Empire Stores sells a wide range of homewares, including cookware, kitchenware and tabletop lines, via catalogue and online.