STAFF and customers today told of their disgust at the sudden closure of fashion store Peacocks.
Workers said on Wednesday afternoon representatives from accountancy firm KPMG turned up at stores across Merseyside to tell them to stop trading.
A deal with Edinburgh Woollen Mill to take the chain out of administration will save 388 shops and more than 6,000 jobs. But 224 stores will close leading to 3,100 redundancies. They include two shops in Liverpool and outlets in Old Swan, Ellesmere Port, Huyton, Birkenhead, Southport, Chester and Warrington.
KPMG kept Peacocks running while finding a buyer. But staff and customers today complained about the way local closures were handled.
Anthony Johnson, who was shopping in the Liverpool One store on Wednesday afternoon, said: “As I was walking towards the till a man came in and demanded they shut the store. The manager said ‘no’ as there were customers present. But the man insisted and everyone was ordered out. I heard the administrator say ‘It’s all finished, you’ll be able to claim jobseekers’. You don’t do that to people in public.”
A team member in Birkenhead told the ECHO despite an update on Friday saying the staff would be given notice, the store was closed at 2.20pm on Wednesday.
The worker said: “The woman who came was an auditor and had never closed a store before. She didn’t have the information she was meant to have to answer our questions and in the end she was asked to leave as she was just making us more upset.”
Dave Holt, 25, was contacted shortly after his shift ended.
He said: “I got a call from the administration company saying that Peacocks had been saved but my job had not. They said I should go to the job centre.”
He claimed a couple of employees did not receive a call and found out through Facebook.
He added: “They said they’ve give us five weeks notice. But in the end we didn’t even get 24 hours.”
A KPMG spokesman said: “A KPMG staff member was on site at each closed store on the day and worked with the managers to communicate with staff. We have made funds available so that staff who have been made redundant will be paid up to the end of the month rather than the date of redundancy. We have also been in touch with Job Centre Plus who have provided us with a letter and helpline number for staff.”