Clothes store moves out of city shopping centre

Blue Inc which has closed in the Market Gate Shopping Centre in Lancaster
Blue Inc which has closed in the Market Gate Shopping Centre in Lancaster

The closure of an independent clothes retailer is the latest change to be made at Lancaster’s Market Gate Shopping Centre.

Staff were informed just a few days before the closure on Saturday, resulting in five redundancies, according to one worker.

Market Gate Shopping Centre, which was acquired by Monaco based Roubaix Group Ltd for £22m back in September, has also just appointed mall income and marketing specialists Shoppertainment, the Lancaster Guardian can reveal.

The introduction of a new Primark store within the centre, which is expected to open in the autumn, has resulted in a number of changes over recent months.

A new walkway connecting Sir Simon’s Arcade and Primark means that around one third of the back of the Blue Inc shop space was required.

A spokesman for Roubaix Group said that this was always known to traders, and that Blue Inc was served its notice on October 14, which required the company to vacate the premises on January 6.

But a member of staff, who did not wish to be named, said the news came as a shock.

He added: “We were informed on December 27 that we were going to be out of work.

“It was a shock and it came out of the blue.

We were doing well, and I understand Blue Inc are looking for alternative premises in Lancaster, but couldn’t find anywhere.”

A spokesman for Blue Inc said the company did not wish to comment on the matter.

The Roubaix Group spokesman said the company was working with Blue Inc to try to find a solution.

Menswear retailer Duffer, and a pound shop, also closed due to the Primark work, and Rastellis has now relocated into the former Toni and Guy shop within the shopping centre.

Meanwhile Lancaster BID manager Liz Hickingbotham said that intitial feedback on Christmas and new year trading in Lancaster was “quite strong”.

She added: “The streets had a great atmosphere and were busy and lively with lots of shoppers enjoying the performers that BID provided.

“The Christmas trees and lights looked lovely for the season and the post-Christmas sales figures will hopefully also be very strong.”