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Finlays (North-East) Limited closes stores across region
A NORTH-EAST newsagent has gone into administration, The Northern Echo understands.
Shocked workers at Finlays (North-East) Limited, which has headquarters in Whickham, near Gateshead, say the company has stopped trading, leaving scores of jobs under threat.
A number of the firm's stores were yesterday left in darkness, with newspapers and magazines still on display inside.
A hand-written note was stuck to a door at Finlays' shop in Prebend Row, Darlington, telling customers it was closed.
The Northern Echo understands the firm's management team yesterday visited its shops to inform staff, with administrators expected to be called in today.
Finlays was last night unavailable for comment, but last year its boss raised worries over the long-term future of the newsagent industry.
One worker, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “All we know is that the company has gone into administration.
“Nobody from Finlays has told me anything.
“I was left waiting for the news and had someone on the phone in tears telling me her store had gone.”
Last year, the firm put a dozen of its 20 shops on the market, including outlets in Newcastle, Sunderland, Gateshead and Seaton Carew, near Hartlepool, in a restructure that saw stores operate with budget off licence chain Bargain Booze.
Its financial report for the year to March 2012 revealed the company sold assets worth £283,620 to record profits of £105,116 for the period, but had made operating losses of £188,903.
The report, from company director, William Gandy, warned of cash flow difficulties but said cutting stores would help the business grow.
Mr Gandy said: “I question the long-term viability of the traditional newsagents.
“With the continuing challenges of the retail sector, together with the pressure on sales versus margin and increasingly high costs of tobacco stocks, cash flow remains a paramount issue of management.
“Putting the 12 stores up for sale was somewhat radical, but it is the correct decision and we remain committed that Bargain Booze alongside our traditional products is the best way forward to increase profits.
“I will continue to look at managing an efficient retail chain while looking at sales growth.”
Readers of The Northern Echo who had their paper delivered from Finlays, and would like an alternative provider of a home news delivery service, should contact The Northern Echo on 0800-132401.
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