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Sadness as historic Norwich store closes

PUBLISHED: 13:00 27 June 2010 | UPDATED: 17:34 01 July 2010

End of the line for Norwich's former co-op

End of the line for Norwich's former co-op

Peter Walsh

Shoppers have told of their sadness as a city department store which has been part of Norwich's high street for more than 100 years prepared to close its doors for the last time today.

Shoppers have told of their sadness as a city department store which has been part of Norwich's high street for more than 100 years prepared to close its doors for the last time today.

The former Co-op store in St Stephen's Street 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 in May this year after the company suffered losses in the tough trading environment.

The store is closing down today and shoppers trying to grab some last minute bargains at the store said they were saddened and angered at its demise.

Kathleen White, 75, who lives off Nelson Street in Norwich, said: “It had been the Co-op for I don't know how many years and used to be a good shop. I used to get my electrical things from the Co-op.

“I will be sad to see it go, but it can't have done as well as the Co-op did - it didn't last very long. It's a shame (it's closing) but then what's going to happen?”

Margaret Walpole, 73, from Romany Road, in Norwich, said: “I think it's disgusting that it's closing. You lose this store up here and there's nothing else other than the Mall. There's no other shop like this - it had everything.

“I will be sad to see it go. I'm not happy about it at all.”

Grace-Mary Cork, 66, who lives near Fiddlewood in Norwich, said: “I think it's a shame it's closing. It used to be nice and handy. I'm going to miss it.”

Patricia Burrows, 68, from Norwich, said: “It's sad. When it was Co-op I used to come quite a lot. I think people will miss it and it will be sad to see it go.”

Kath Johnson, 74, from Norwich, said: “I think it's disgusting that it's closing.”

Established in 2007 Vergo employs 942 people across about 20 outlets in the UK.

In addition to the Norwich store, which last year employed about 60 and dates back to 1887, stores in Stowmarket and Colchester are set to close.

It is believed the former Co op department store at Market Place Yarmouth which was also taken over by Vergo last summer has not been affected.

Do you know of a historic store which is closing or one that has been saved at the eleventh hour? Call reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email peter.walsh@archant.co.uk

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