Alworths shuts its doors in Newhaven

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HOPES of reviving Newhaven’s struggling High Street suffered a fresh blow as Alworths entered administration.

The shop, which occupied the old Woolworths unit, was closed down this week.

Administrators Leonard Curtis said they were talking to a number of interested parties.

Chair of Newhaven Strategic Network Penny Shimmin said: “We are extremely sorry that Alworths has closed without warning. It seems the shop in Newhaven was viable and trading well.

“We hope there will be a buyer as there is clearly a need for this type of shop in Newhaven High Street.”

Newhaven Mayor Graham Amy added: “I am very sorry that Alworths has gone into administration so soon.

“Alworths presence helped to boost sales in the town centre and provided vital jobs for local people.

“I feel so sorry for the staff because it is very difficult to find work in the present economic climate.”

President of Newhaven Chamber of Commerce Paul Boswell commented: “It’s never good news when any company goes into administration.

“Alworths have only recently moved into their Newhaven premises and have helped considerably over the past months to bring more shoppers back into the town centre.

“On behalf of the chamber I would like to offer our best wishes for the staff.

“I hope that a rescue package can be put together in order to save one of the towns’ flagship stores.”

Neil Bennett and Michael Healy of Leonard Curtis were appointed administrators on March 28.

For the year to December 2010 Alworths achieved a turnover of £7.5m.

Neil Bennett said: “This is a business that operates in a very competitive market that has been badly affected by the recent downturn in consumer confidence experienced on the UK High Street. We are currently continuing to trade while we look for a suitable buyer in an effort to secure the business and safeguard job security for its current employees.”

Alworths set up in small market towns like Newhaven where it felt there was still demand for a Woolworths style shop.

It has 17 stores across the UK and was set up by ex Woolworths employees. It stocked similar products to Woolworths, including homeware and seasonal ranges.