Statement from Trafford Council and Altrincham Unlimited regarding closure of Rackhams Department Store
Following House of Fraser’s announcement to close 31 of its shops, including Rackhams in Altrincham, Trafford Council and the town’s Business Improvement District (BID) Altrincham Unlimited will work with other agencies to support employees at risk of losing their jobs as a result of the closure.
The Council will also work with the owners of the building, Lunar Altrincham Sarl, and the town’s Business Improvement District (BID) Altrincham Unlimited, around proposals for the reuse of the building.
All parties are confident that Altrincham town centre will continue to be resilient and go from strength to strength, despite the challenges currently affecting many of the UK’s high streets.
This year the town was named ‘Best Place to Live in the North-West’ by The Sunday Times, and recent improvements in the public realm are helping to showcase Altrincham’s thriving café, retail and leisure culture, in addition to its award-winning market.
The House of Fraser stores scheduled for closure, which include its flagship London Oxford Street store, will stay open until early 2019.
Cllr James Wright, Exec Member for Investment, Regeneration and Strategic Planning, said:
“This is really sad news and we are deeply disappointed for the people who will lose their jobs. Rackhams has been a long established feature of the high street for many years, however, its closure does not make us any less confident about Altrincham’s future. It has continually bucked the national trend and thrived while other towns in the UK have struggled. The Council had a vision several years ago to create a vibrant town centre and it has been transformed by the Council working in partnership with the private sector. We are committed to improving and growing the town centre for the benefit of residents, businesses and visitors alike. Altrincham is a destination in its own right and we will work to develop that, so it continues to be one of the best places to live in the country.”
Ewen Miller, Chair of Altrincham Unlimited, said:
“While the closure of Rackhams is very disappointing, and sadly puts a number of jobs at risk, it reflects national long-term retail trends. However, this will not knock Altrincham off course as it continues to improve trading activity, increase visitor numbers and build its reputation as a modern market town with a strong sense of community. We continue to attract many different businesses and look forward to welcoming many more in the future, including the London-based Everyman boutique cinema chain due to open in the Autumn. The revival of Altrincham will continue, and we foresee a positive future for the town centre as great place to visit, work and start a business.”