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Owners of former Norwich Co-op in administration

PUBLISHED: 10:14 10 May 2010 | UPDATED: 16:20 01 July 2010

Vergo in Norwich.

Vergo in Norwich.

Sam Williams

The future of a city department store has been left hanging in the balance for the second time in less than a year after its owner called in administrators.

The future of a city department store has been left hanging in the balance for the second time in less than a year after its owner called in administrators.

The former Co-op store in St Stephen's Street, Norwich, was bought by Liverpool-based Vergo Retail last summer after being earmarked for closure along with nine other branches in the East of England, safeguarding 350 jobs.

But insolvency firm MCR was appointed administrator of Vergo on Friday after the company suffered losses in the tough trading environment.

Established in 2007, Vergo employs 942 across about 20 outlets, including department stores trading under brands including Robbs of Hexham, Joplings of Sunderland and Derrys of Plymouth.

The company announced the closure of its Lewis's of Liverpool department store in February.

MCR said a buyer was being sought for the retailer, which continues to trade as normal in administration.

Sarah Bell, partner at MCR, said: “Unfortunately the company has endured periods of financial loss.

“It has made efforts following the recently announced closure of the Lewis's store in Liverpool, to seek new finance to restructure the business but has been unsuccessful in finding a going concern solution.

“Like many retailers, it has experienced a difficult trading environment during the economic downturn.”

In addition to the Norwich store, which last year employed about 60, the company also acquired the former Co-op department store at Market Place, Great Yarmouth, last summer.

MCR said 19 Vergo branches were affected by the company entering administration but was unable to confirm whether the Yarmouth store was among them.

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