Jobs at risk at Internacionale shop in Hartlepool – but centre boss hopes store will stay open

Mark Rycraft, Middleton Grange Shopping Centre manager
Mark Rycraft, Middleton Grange Shopping Centre manager

A SHOPPING centre boss says he will do everything possible to keep a high street store in town after the business went into administration.

Eight jobs are at risk at women’s clothes shop Internacionale in Hartlepool’s flagship Middleton Grange Shopping Centre.

Pricewaterhouse Cooper have been appointed as administrators of Internacionale UK Limited which has 89 UK stores.

Manager of Middleton Grange Shopping Centre, Mark Rycraft, said the centre is working with administrators and hope a new buyer can be found to save the business.

He said: “We are very disappointed. I think it is the third time it has gone into administration.

“We have been working with the owners to keep the store open, it trades well in Hartlepool and I will be sad if it goes. We are in dialogue with the administrators and will do whatever we can to try to keep it open.”

The current Internacionale business was formed after a predecessor business went into administration last July.

But administrators say it has not recovered as expected due to the flat economy and fierce competition.

Bruce Cartwright, joint administrator and partner at Pricewaterhouse Cooper, said: “The company directors have worked with key stakeholders to try and find a solution to preserve the business.

“However, these efforts have proved to be unsuccessful against the backdrop of a fiercely competitive retail sector which, despite the improving economic conditions, can be unforgiving to businesses in financial distress.

“We are currently working with management to agree an orderly wind-down of the company, but we welcome any approaches to purchase parts of the store portfolio and safeguard jobs.

“We intend to continue to trade over the coming weeks in order to sell as much of the retail stock as possible and maximise the return to creditors.

“Staff have been and will continue to be paid for their work. Unfortunately, unless a willing purchaser for the business or store portfolio is forthcoming, it is inevitable that redundancies and store closures will become necessary as the administration process continues.

“The company and the administrators are making every effort to help staff through this difficult transition.”