Chichester store facing closure

A Chichester shop is in danger of closure if the business is not bought out.

Tuesday, 10th December 2019, 3:45 pm
Updated Tuesday, 10th December 2019, 3:45 pm

North Street's Solent Cleaners is set to close unless a buyer can be found for the south coast chain.

Director Paul Durham said: “Increased employee costs, rents, rates, and spiralling energy costs have reduced profit margins on a declining turnover.

"We have tried to find alternative revenue streams, such as laundry and ironing services, and reduced overheads where possible but it has not been enough. We have supported the company through personal funds but do not have the resources to continue”.

The owners said the business has recently suffered financial difficulties as a result of the long term decline in the consumer requirement for dry cleaning of wool fibre and structured garments such as suits, as man-made washable clothes become more popular.

Mr Durham added: “In conjunction with our agents we are actively seeking interested parties to take over some or all of the outlets and we have already received a considerable amount of interest over the last few days.

"We are hoping that something can be salvaged although regrettably it is highly likely that the company will go into liquidation and we have informed our staff accordingly. We are devastated for the staff, a number of whom have been with us for over 30 years, and would like to thank them for their support at this extremely difficult time."

The business originally began operating in Hampshire in the mid-sixties and has always been owned by generations of the Durham family although the present company was formed in 1987. The current owners and directors Paul and Alan Durham are grandchildren of the founder.

The company currently has ten outlets in Hampshire, Surrey and West Sussex including the main laundry site in Farlington.

It employs 63 staff across these locations and at the Havant head office. At the weekend the company informed customers that it was no longer taking in new work and a plan has been implemented to contact customers to arrange for them to collect clothing items which have been cleaned and are sat in stores awaiting collection.

Customers with uncollected items are urged to collect these as soon as possible as the shops are likely to close for the last time on Saturday evening.

Whiteley based insolvency experts Portland Business Recovery are assisting the directors regarding the liquidation of the company. Any parties interested in acquiring aspects of the business are invited to contact Jan Hills on [email protected]