The closure of JR Taylor has signalled the end of an era in St Annes - but Fylde’s other department store is faring well and looking forward to a bright future.
The family which has run Stringers in Lytham Square for three generations has joined other local traders in expressing their sorrow at the loss of Taylor’s, which closed its doors at the weekend, with the loss of 60 jobs, after 114 years in St Annes Square.
“It’s just so sad - such a great shame,” said merchandising director Jenny Clarke, whose husband Damian is managing director.
But while the JR Taylor business was put into administration last month after what the owners described as ‘a sustained period of difficult trading conditions’, Stringers, which employs around 100 people, is going from strength to strength.
“We have had growth year on year and that trend continues,” said Jenny.
“December was six per cent up on the same period the previous year and we are grateful for the great support we have always had from customers and the town in general.
“Of course in the general economic climate there has been in recent years, there is always caution but that keeps you on your toes.
“It’s important to keep giving the customers what they want.
“We are very optimistic about the future and have some exciting plans.”
Meanwhile, St Annes traders’ chiefs have expressed the hope that the landmark building occupied by Taylor’s since 1901 will not be left vacant for long.
“It is a prime spot which is vital to the town and if we could get a national chain in there, that would be ideal,“ said John Moxham, chairman of the town’s Chamber of Trade.
Matthew Bye, a spokesman for JR Taylor owners Howjow Investments, said: “The owners and management have worked tremendously hard over the last few years to try to return the business to profitability, but changing shopping habits and economic conditions continued to put pressure on the business.
“We got to a point where it was no longer sustainable.
“This has been a difficult and uncertain time for the staff, and we’d like to place on record our thanks to them for their continued hard work and dedication while this process has been going on.”
Mr Bye confirmed redundancy payments to staff would be paid in full.