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Paul Simon to close Gillingham and Ashford stores next week costing 19 jobs but administrator Deloitte sells seven UK stores to Lewis Home Retail

By Chris Price

Home furnishings retailer Paul Simon is to close two Kent stores next week at a cost of 19 jobs but has found a buyer for other outlets elsewhere in the UK.

Its Ashford and Gillingham locations will be among eight to close nationally, with 59 job losses.

Gillingham will shut for the final time on Bank Holiday Monday but had already been earmarked for closure at a loss of eight jobs.

The Paul Simon store in Ashford
The Paul Simon store in Ashford

Ashford’s impending demise is a new development, costing 11 livelihoods. A final opening date has not yet been set.

The company fell into administration last month and has already closed five stores, including its Margate branch.

Its Strood and Sittingbourne locations are also set to close – costing 16 jobs – but are still trading at present.

However the chain has negotiated the sale of seven stores to Lewis Home Retail, retaining 73 jobs.

Administrators Deloitte will continue to trade the firm’s remaining 30 outlets including Aylesford and Orpington, while seeking a buyers.

There were originally 50 leasehold retail stores.

Deloitte partner Lee Manning said: “We are pleased to have some good news during the administration of Paul Simon.

“However, this is not a sale of the brand and we will see clearance sales at the closing stores.

“This market remains challenging, especially for out of town retailers, and the increasing importance of online sales caused an erosion of margins.”

After falling into administration in early April, the firm blamed the “uncertain economic environment” and its core business being undermined by online retailers.

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