Argos pulls out

Ashton's Argos store in the Gerard Shopping Centre
Ashton's Argos store in the Gerard Shopping Centre

A MAJOR shopping chain is to leave its site in Wigan in the New Year.

Argos, based in Gerard Centre, Ashton, will close next month after bosses have decided not to renew the lease.

A company spokesman said: “Argos is closing its store in the Gerard Centre on Friday January 20 following the expiry of the lease at this site.

“Despite reviewing other locations in Ashton-in-Makerfield, particularly within the Gerard Centre, Argos has been unable to find a viable alternative site.

“We will make every effort to offer alternative employment to the ten colleagues affected by this closure.

“We remain firmly committed to our customers in the area and have six other Argos stores within five miles of Ashton-in-Makerfield. Two are located in St Helens, two are in Wigan and two are in Leigh.”

Ward councillor, Nigel Ash, said: “It worries me that no-one will take the shop on and it will be left derelict.

“We already have one large empty shop - the site which used to be B&M Bargains in the Gerard Centre - and we do not want another.

“Ashton does quite well for a small place, as we have quite a few big shops, but I hope this is not the beginning of an end,

“We do not want a stretch of empty buildings, making Ashton look like a centre which is not doing well.

“My main concern would be that nobody wants to visit the town centre any more as there is not enough for them.

“One hope is the new health centre, as I believe the way to getting people back in the town is through building things like publicly owned or financed.

“It worked for Platt Bridge, as a new school and health centre encouraged more people into the area as there were new developments there.”

Argos is not the only shop to close.

Julian Graves health shop, ceased trading in the Makinson Arcade, Wigan, last month as part of its integration with NBTY Europe.

A spokesman from NBTY Europe, parent company of Julian Graves, said: “As part of the ongoing integration of the Julian Graves business into the NBTY Europe estate, the Julian Graves store in Wigan closed on November 12, affecting three staff.”

Meanwhile, fashion retailer Peacocks has refused to comment on reports that 200 its stores could close.

The low-cost fashion firm has more than 500 stores in the UK and over 100 overseas in 20 countries, including the Bonmarche chain.

But the company, which has stores in Wigan, Ashton and Leigh, said it is working on a plan to restructure its business.

A spokesman said: “We continue to progress our restructuring discussions and plans, with no decisions taken at this point.”