Retail sector suffers double blow
THE retail sector has taken another battering in recent days with the closure of two more high-profile stores.
Impulse Products and Pulse Accessories, trading companies under the Berganza Limited name, have begun liquidation proceedings, while in separate news fashion and lifestyle store Laura Ashley has also announced that its flagship Dublin store is to close.
Twenty-two workers at Laura Ashley are on strike, and say they will remain so until the issue over redundancy payments is resolved.
The retailer, which has completed a deal with the Disney organisation to take over its Dublin store premises, is offering its members of staff statutory redundancy.
Those who wish to remain in one of Laura Ashley's six remaining retail outlets will have to undergo an interview.
Jerry Light, assistant general secretary of Mandate, which is representing the workers, said: "We believe that Laura Ashley hasn't come out of the deal with Disney badly, and is surviving relatively well during the recession. A company in that position should be willing and able to pay more than the statutory redundancy.
"But we also want our members to be redeployed under terms and conditions that are not too dissimilar to those which we currently enjoy. Unfortunately, the company has failed the test on both issues."
Meanwhile, Ken Fennell of Kavanagh Fennell was appointed provisional liquidator of the company which operates Pulse accessories by order of the High Court this week. Bergana employed 130 people -- all of whom have been made redundant.
The family-run business of costume jewellery, operated by Noel, Ciaran, David and Nicola Ruane, has 27 stores and a wholesale business.
According to its most recent accounts, for 2008, the company had fixed assets worth €2,437,648 and current assets of €2,233, 474. It had creditors of €2,409,661.
However, Mr Fennell is hopeful that an investor can be sought to purchase the trade as a going concern.
The matter is due for a full hearing before the High Court on November 15.