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Lowestoft: Jobs shock and more gloom on way?

PUBLISHED: 10:30 05 March 2010 | UPDATED: 16:36 06 July 2010

ONE of the country's leading electrical retailers is closing its Lowestoft branch with all 12 staff being made redundant.

The first that staff at Comet on the North Quay Retail Park knew their store was closing was when Waveney District Council placed planning notices at the premises on Monday this week.

ONE of the country's leading electrical retailers is closing its Lowestoft branch with all 12 staff being made redundant.

The first that staff at Comet on the North Quay Retail Park knew their store was closing was when Waveney District Council placed planning notices at the premises on Monday this week.

“Everyone was shocked. We are one of the most profitable Comet stores in East Anglia,” said a staff member who asked not to be named. “I cannot believe that Comet bosses would know about this and not tell their staff before planning notices were displayed.

“It is going to be difficult to find new jobs so a lot of families will be going through a tough time.”

The store is due to close early next month.

A statement from Comet's paid tribute to the Lowestoft staff.

“We can confirm that 12 employees at the Comet store in Lowestoft have today (Wednesday) entered into a 30-day consultation period, in advance of the store's closure in April.

“Regrettably, the council recently installed planning permission signs in the store before briefings with the employees took place, and we sincerely apologise for the distress this must have caused,” said the statement.

“The decision to close the store is a commercial one and in no way reflects the hard work and commitment of the store's employees. Every effort will be made to redeploy the affected individuals within the Comet business or help them find alternative local employment.”

It is not believed there are currently any vacancies at Comet stores in nearby Great Yarmouth or Norwich.

The unit on the retail park is being taken over by UK specialist retailer in electronic components, Maplins, who have conducted their own recruitment for staff.

THERE was also bad news this week for the 61 employees at Norbert Dentressangle, at Oulton Broad, near Lowestoft, who will be entering into a 30-day consultation period before redundancies begin.

The company, formally Christian Salvesen, was stunned when Birds Eye closed its pea growing operation in Suffolk and Norfolk last month.

The plant was used as the freezing centre and would freeze an average of 30,000 tonnes of peas a year in a 24-hour operation from mid-June.

Dan Myers, food business unit director, said: “As a direct consequence of Birds Eye ceasing its pea processing activities at out site in Oulton Broad I can confirm that we will be entering into consultation with employees.

“Whilst we were optimistic that we could secure alternative processing business in order to minimise the impact of Birds Eye's decision and have been actively pursuing opportunities to do so, regrettably, in the immediate short term, this has not been possible.”

Mr Myers said the current operation could not sustain the existing staffing levels.

“As a result, we anticipate that some redundancies will be unavoidable, however, the exact nature and timing of any changes are subject to the outcome of the consultation period and we are therefore unable to provide any further information at this stage,” said Mr Myers.

The job losses follow the decision to close the Jeld-Wen timber plant in Lowestoft with the loss of more than 200 jobs and the uncertainty over the future of offshore accommodation manufacturers SLP.

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