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TJ Hughes saviour 'devastated' by its collapse

by Chris Bradley. Published Thu 25 Aug 2011 10:00, last updated: 25/08/11
TJ Hughes flagship store on London Road
TJ Hughes flagship store on London Road

The businessman who became the saviour of the Liverpool-based TJ Hughes stores chain says he is "devastated" at its collapse.

Anil Juneja, managing director of Speke-based Benross Group, said: "As a supplier to TJ Hughes for many years I was devastated to see the company go into administration."

After nearly 100 years of trading the discount brand store, affectionately known locally as 'TJ's', went in administration in July owing £433.5million in debts.

From the original 57 stores across the country, just six will remain as "TJ's" under the management of Benross.

Of the remainder the last five shops, in Doncaster, Bradford, Sunderland, Lichfield and
Wrexham, will cease trading next week after a administrators Ernst & Young were unable to find a buyer.

Around 263 jobs will be lost when the stores shut the doors for the last time.

Hundreds of jobs were also lost when stores in Birkenhead, Bootle, Chester, Ellesmere Port, St Helens and Warrington were closed.

Liverpool-born Mr Juneja was responsible for a £1.65million takeover deal making Benross Group the owners of the TJ Hughes name.

Mr Juneja plans to keep the TJ name at the flagship London Road store and his other sites in Widnes, Eastbourne, Sheffield, Glasgow and Newcastle.

He said he is proud to be keeping the TJ's name alive.

"I was born and bred in Liverpool. TJ Hughes is part of my history as well as Liverpool and now its future." said Mr Juneja.

"TJ Hughes has a fantastic loyal customer base which I hope will remain. We won’t let our customers down. I’m excited passionate and egger to get the ball rolling.

"It’s a much- loved brand and we are thrilled to be bringing the retailer back to life to service its loyal customers once again.

"I love the fact we are saving a local brand I believe in and hope to rejuvenate it and make it a success."

Benross Group currently have no plans to reopen the TJ Hughes distribution centre in Wavertree, which closed in July and 80 jobs were axed.

But Mr Juneja is optimistic about creating more jobs in a new era for the store.

He said: "Next year TJ Hughes will celebrate its 100th anniversary. It was once a very successful chain and I don't see why that can't happen again.

"So far we have generated over 650 jobs and I am still looking to recruit more."

Tom Jack, Joint Administrator, said: "A purchaser for these remaining stores was not found, and regrettably we have had to schedule these final store closures.

"We are extremely grateful to the employees and management at all the Group's stores for their loyalty and support during this very difficult time.

Benross Group also own the Lewis's name, who were once prominent in Liverpool retail.

Mr Juneja plans to revive Lewis's but due to Merepark's £200million development of Central Village, a return to their iconic store on Renshaw Street is impossible.

Instead Benross Group will be opening a Lewis's store in Bury.

Mr Juneja said: "Liverpool would have been the ideal for the first store but we couldn't found a suitable location.

"We are still looking for a site in Liverpool, meanwhile we hope our customers from the city will travel to support the Lewis's brand."






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"I worked for tjs for 10years every one miss the shop in town hope we get one back in the near future." a douglas, coventry around 2 years, 1 month ago

"feel v.sorry for those losing their jobs .many others including contractors have also lost money, if they were £400m in debt, it makes you t" harold, cornwall around 2 years, 7 months ago

"Well done, Anil Juneja. Like you I'm born and bred in Liverpool.Long live T.J's.May there be many more years of it being around." Joan Gough, Liverpool around 2 years, 7 months ago

 
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