Sadness and surprise at closure of well-known Scunthorpe town centre store
A TRADER has called for measures to help Scunthorpe High Street after the Ernest Jones store closed.
The jewellery and watchmaker ceased trading on Monday – sparking fresh concerns about trading on the High Street.
Tony Coe, manager of Scunthorpe jeweller's Coe & Co, said the closure was disappointing news. He said: "It is a shame to lose another retailer from the High Street.
"I am not sure the reasons why they have left but it could be because it is expensive to rent in the town centre.
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"This is a nationwide problem. A lot of shops are struggling to sustain staying in the town centre.
"Something needs to be done to help businesses."
Nic Dakin, MP for Scunthorpe, said: "This news is very disappointing and further illustrates that it is a challenging time for the High Street.
"That is why I have been calling for two hours free car parking and I hope the council is listening."
Ernest Jones offered no explanation for why the store closed and was unable to confirm reports that seven jobs had been lost.
But one source, who asked to remain anonymous, said, shortly after news broke, that staff had felt the store was doing well.
"Staff are working now behind the shutters packing up stock, discussing redundancy options, which won't be for a lot of money," the source said. "Most will be left to find other jobs, some have been there 15 years or more."
Another close to the business said staff had been told about the closure at 3pm on Monday – shortly before it shut.
"All staff are out of jobs – another blow for the high street," the source said.
A spokeswoman for Signet, which owns the Ernest Jones brand, said: "The Ernest Jones store in Scunthorpe closed on February 18.
"We continually reassess our portfolio of stores on a store-by-store basis, particularly when individual store leases come up for renewal.
"This particular closure bears no reflection upon the future plans of the Signet business estate overall within the UK. We are sorry to be leaving Scunthorpe."
Councillor Liz Redfern, leader of North Lincolnshire Council, said: "It is important for us to support local businesses in the area, especially through these difficult times. We are looking at ways to improve the town centre and what options are available to us. We have extended the car parking voucher scheme and have also reduced some car parking prices in a bid to increase footfall."
A sign was posted at the Ernest Jones store urging shoppers to go to the town's H Samuel store, which is also owned by Signet.