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Palmers confirms commitment to East Anglian stores after announcement of Bury St Edmunds closure

PUBLISHED: 17:15 06 October 2017 | UPDATED: 17:15 06 October 2017

Palmers department store, Yarmouth celebrated 180 years of business this year. Picture: Nick Butcher

Palmers department store, Yarmouth celebrated 180 years of business this year. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2017

An East Anglian department store chain which announced the closure of one of its premises this week is still performing well despite a “challenging” trading environment, according to its chairman.

Palmers said its Bury St Edmunds Fashion Store would be closing on January 20, 2018, with the loss of 35 jobs, while its Homestore in the town is also scheduled to close next year as part of a redevelopment project.

But chairman Bruce Sturrock has said the Palmers name could live on in Bury, while reiterating the company’s commitment to its other stores in Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth, where it was founded in 1837.

“High street trading in all parts of the country continues to be challenging due to changing shopping habits,” he said.

“In Bury St Edmunds there are particular circumstances which have led to the store closure – a new shopping centre altered the axis of the town’s shopping area, leaving our store at a disadvantage.

“However, in Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft we are still doing well. Footfall has reduced due to some national chains leaving, but Palmers continues to attract customers. There have been opportunities as other stores close – for example, when BHS closed its Dorothy Perkins concession transferred to Palmers and has been doing very well.”

He added: “We have been in Great Yarmouth for 180 years and it is our intention to continue for many years to come.”

Palmers has sold its Fashion Store on the Buttermarket in Bury St Edmunds – which it said had become unprofitable – to local development company Pigeon, which is optimistic that the building will have a “bright future”.

Mr Sturrock said he would make “every effort” to ensure staff found alternative employment.

Palmers has also gained planning permission at its Homestore on St Andrew’s Street in the town for a mixed retail and residential development, with work expected to start next spring if plans are confirmed.

Mr Sturrock said the store, which employs 20 people, would have to close while the redevelopment took place but that Palmers could continue trading there “at a later date”.

Palmers reported turnover of £7.29m in the year to January 28, 2017.

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