A Lancashire butcher’s shop boss says he wants to relaunch the crashed business which has left many of its customers shocked over its sudden closure.
Rotherham-based Crawshaws has just closed 35 of its stores and one distribution centre with the loss of 354 jobs after going into administration.
One victim is the popular stall - well known as Gabbotts Farm for years - on Chorley market where two full-time and three part-time jobs have been lost.
Manager David Critchley was at the stall - which ceased trading last Tuesday - this Tuesday to help former customers, many of them elderly, who had bought savings stamps for their Christmas orders.
“I’m here to help people,” said David, of Penwortham, who has been at the Chorley shop for some 15 years, but worked for the company for around 20, having preiously managed a former shop at Preston Guild Hall.
“I came down off my own back to talk to customers.
“The last operating day was last Tuesday. I found out Wednesday night and told not to open Thursday.
“I want people to be kept in the picture, to help them out. I’m looking at opening it for myself.”
He added: “People are shocked. One lady was crying as she was talking to me about it. She’s shopped here for all those years.
“A lot of our customers are of an age where they don’t do social media.”
He said £80 was the largest amount someone had come to him about the saving stamps on Tuesday.
“Someone else had forty, fifty quid,” he said.
David said he had advised customers that Crawshaw’s shops in Wigan, Salford, or Rice Lane in Liverpool, for example, were still open to use their stamps at.
“People are saying there’s no room in the freezer, but it’s better if they take it or if a friend can help them out,” he said.
Crawshaws has stores across the North of England and Midlands.
Last month, said it was attempting to raise equity to restore growth and profitability.
However, it later announced it did not have “sufficient cash resources” to carry out a restructuring.
Hunter Kelly and Charles King of EY’s Restructuring team were appointed Joint Administrators.
Hunter Kelly said: “Crawshaw has not been immune to the well documented issues on the high street, which has resulted in a number of stores becoming loss making.
“Despite the new management team’s best efforts, it was not possible to raise additional investment to restructure the business by reducing the number of high street stores and expanding its successful factory shop format and instore SPAR butchery offering.
“As a result the group would have run out of cash due to the loss making high street stores and therefore Administration was necessary.
“Crawshaw’s out of town factory store format has proved to be successful and we are hopeful that a purchaser can be found who can take forward management’s plan for these profitable stores.
“We are continuing to trade 19 profitable stores and the Hellaby processing and distribution centre as normal and would encourage interested parties to come forward. “Unfortunately it was necessary to immediately close 35 stores in mainly high street locations that were no longer viable, which resulted in 354 redundancies.”
“Employees affected by redundancy are being offered appropriate advice and support in making claims from the Redundancy Payments Office for outstanding wages, as well as redundancy and notice pay. They have been or will be paid their outstanding wages as normal.
“It is with regret that 354 people have been made redundant. We hope to conclude a sale to preserve the remaining 261 jobs.”
Any parties interested in acquiring the business should contact the Joint Administrators.
Other North West closures and job losses include: Blackburn - nine; Bolton - eight; Burnley - nine; Bury - nine; Rochdale - 16; Southport - 11; St Helens - nine; Warrington - seven; Widnes - seven.