Furniture shop decides to close its doors
7:23am Friday 22nd March 2013 in Local
A WELL-known furniture store which has traded in Bolton for many years is to close.
The news comes after the owners of Gregory and Porritt failed to agree new lease terms on its base in Knowsley Street.
The company will hold a closing down sale at Easter but no date for closure has yet been announced. However, its lighting section will stay open.
The news comes as Bolton’s HMV shut its doors for the last time yesterday and follows a string of other retail closures — Comet, Jessops and Blockbuster.
Gregory and Porritt is owned by furniture chain Stokers.
Jonathan Stoker, the firm’s managing director, said: “The Gregory and Porritt store is closing down but the lighting franchise, Exclusive Lighting, is not closing and will remain there.
“We have not been able to renegotiate our lease terms.
“The shop had come to the end of its lease and we could not agree new favourable terms.” Stokers has shops in Southport, Ormskirk and Chester and also the Doorway to Value store in Chorley.
Gregory and Porritt’s manager, David Pritchard, is moving to Southport, where a vacancy has arisen. The other three Bolton sales staff will be relocated within the business.
Mr Stoker added: “The Bolton store trades not badly but it is the only store we rent.
“Rates are based on rental values, which are currently based on prerecession figures. Valuations are set on a five-year cycle but the next reevaluation date is being delayed.
“There are other retail sites in Bolton, such as Middlebrook, which have big national retailers who will pay whatever is necessary because those units are in demand.
“However independent retailers, such as us, have to work within different circumstances.”
Earlier this week, Greater Manchester Planning and Housing Commission suggested Bolton should have a smaller retail base concentrated around the market and shopping centres, with the town centre becoming the focus for office accommodation in the north of Greater Manchester with more familyfriendly leisure businesses.