Non-essential shops are gearing up to reopen to the public on April 12 after what has been a devastating year for the retail industry with a multitude of lockdowns forcing them to close for the majority of last year and this.
However, while many have managed to weather the storm of the coronavirus pandemic, others have not been so fortunate and in 2020 and even this year we have bid a final goodbye to many big-name stores in Burton.
Thousands of jobs have been lost across the local area as businesses closed both before the pandemic kicked in, and afterwards.
As excitement builds around the reopening of a number of stores, we've had a look at those we've sadly said goodbye to. Some big names we lost before the pandemic, but many have sadly been forced to close as a result of the covid crisis.
Topshop : It was bad news for Coopers Square shopping centre when it was confirmed in February that the high street chain was closing its high street stores during the pandemic. The brand will still be available however after online fashion retailer Asos sealed deal to take on TopShop and three other brands from the collapsed Arcadia retail empire for £265 million. The purchase included Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT brands bough from administrators.
Dorothy Perkins and Burtons men's wear: It was also confirmed in February that the town's Dorothy Perkins and Burtons men's wear stores would permanently close down following the demise of Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group during the pandemic. Dorothy Perkins was based in The Octagon shopping centre and Burtons was in Station Street.
Thorntons: The chocolate company, which had a store in Coopers Square shopping centre issued a statement on its website last month saying it had taken the "difficult decision" to go into full consultation to start the permanent closure of shops during the covid crisis. It was another blow for the town as well as other sites across the country. It would be concentrating on online business. It's franchised shops were not affected.
Evans: Another blow for Burton was the closure of the long-standing plus-size women's clothing store Evans, in The Octagon shopping centre in January, 2020. This closure was before the pandemic Evans had been a popular staple of Burton shopping for more than a decade. However, administrators acting for retail giant Arcadia struck a deal with an Australian company to buy Evans. City Chic bought the brand, Deloitte revealed - but the deal did not include its brick and mortar stores. The former store is set to reopen as the new larger base for popular Burton toy shop Midco Toys.
Carphone Warehouse: Carphone Warehouse, in Middleway Retail Park, off Guild Street, in Burton, closed in March 2020 as the pandemic was beginning, retailer Dixons Carphone said it would be closing all 531 standalone Carphone Warehouse stores. This saw two Burton shops shut on Friday, April 3, last year, including the Middleway Retail Park one and an outlet in Coopers Square shopping centre. The firm still has a "shop in a shop" at Currys PC World, in Eighth Avenue, Centrum East Retail Park.
In June, signs were removed from the former Burton store, leaving the building, near The Gym, looking completely unrecognisable. Dixons Carphone's move to close all standalone stores saw 2,900 jobs axed and more focus on selling mobile devices in 305 Currys PC World stores, as well as online.
Peacocks: In September, it was revealed that another major retailer had closed its doors in Burton town centre. There had previously been concerns that bosses at family clothing store Peacocks would pull the plug on its store, in High Street in the town, after signs were put up late last year saying "closing down sale, subject to landlord negotiation".
Peacocks was originally saved from closure when Edinburgh Woollen Mill bought the company in 2012. The store chain had more than 400 branches across the UK and employed more than 6,000 people. Peacocks sold clothing for men, women and children and was known for its low prices.
DW Sports: The large DW Sports gym in Burton closed in August after the national firm appointed administrators. Bosses had already said the Burton store, in Middleway Park, would be closing, however they insisted the on-site gym would remain. But it was later revealed that the gym would also close for good. A spokesman said the move came due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and shifting consumer spending trends towards online retail.
DW Sports, which was founded by former Wigan Athletic owner Dave Whelan, operated 73 gyms and 75 retail sites across the UK but announced plans to shut 25 of its stores in July.
Monsoon and Accessorize: Another big player on the High Street was clothing chain Monsoon and Accessorize in Coopers Square shopping centre. In June, the clothing store in Coopers Square shopping centre announced it will not reopen after 16 years in town after it went into administration. The Burton branch was one of 35 which have already or are expected to close during the pandemic.
Staff who worked at the store left a personal hand-written note in the window thanking their "wonderful customers", saying it was with "great sadness that we say goodbye for now and sincere thanks for your loyal patronage over the past 16 years."
BrightHouse: It was revealed in July that BrightHouse would not be reopening. A question mark was raised about the future of BrightHouse in Burton when all signs were removed from the building, which sits on the corner of Station Street.
A spokesman from the national firm later confirmed the site would not reopen. The decision came after business went into administration back in March 2020.
Just after the Government announced the United Kingdom would be entering a period of lockdown in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus, BrightHouse's parent company Caversham Finance Limited called in the administrators. Fears for the future of the "rent-to-own" furniture and electrical 240 stores were raised then.
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