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Hawkin's Bazaar in Bluewater faces closure as firm goes into administration

A toy and novelty gift shop retailer has become the latest to slump into administration.

Hawkin's Bazaar, which has 20 stores across the UK, including an outlet in Bluewater, confirmed its stores would continue trading "until further notice".

A host of Kent stores closed back in 2011 when it previously went into administration
A host of Kent stores closed back in 2011 when it previously went into administration

It blamed increasing competition from online retailers after becoming the latest retailer to find itself in choppy waters.

The company was founded in 1973 and employs some 177 staff across its stores.

It is not the first time it has struggled.

It also went into administration in 2011 which resulted in the closure of two-thirds of its stores including a number in Kent.

Tom Straw and Simon Thomas, of retail specialists Moorfields Advisory Ltd, have been appointed joint administrators of the Norfolk-based firm.

Hawkin's Bazaar said it had a "challenging" Christmas period
Hawkin's Bazaar said it had a "challenging" Christmas period

They said the firm had experienced a "challenging" Christmas period "reflective of the struggling high street retail sector generally".

Mr Straw said: "Hawkin’s Bazaar is a retail brand with a strong heritage both on the high street and online.

"Unfortunately, despite making changes to their offering to appeal to the shift in modern buying patterns, the retailer still struggled to compete with online retailers such as Amazon.”

Stores will continue trading "until further notice" and much of the stock "will be subject to clearance discounts and other special promotions".

The joint administrators say gift cards and exchanges will continue to be honoured on a limited basis whilst stores continue to trade.

No further gift cards will be sold and there will be no further cash refunds. Website sales have been suspended.

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