Iconic Manchester department store Kendals has been saved – after a last minute deal was struck with landlords to keep the House of Fraser Deansgate shop open.
It means almost 600 jobs have been saved after the news was confirmed by bosses on Friday night.
There had been a huge campaign to “Save Kendals” when it was first revealed in October that the six-level department store on Deansgate was to close – after new owner Mike Ashley failed to agree new terms with the landlords.
But after crunch talks between the council, the landlords and Mr Ashley, a new deal was struck.
“This demonstrates that when landlords, local authorities and retailers work together the outcomes can be outstanding,” Mr Ashley said tonight. “When working together we can make a real difference to the high street.”
Kendals’ manager Anne Latham tonight spoke of the huge relief in store at the news.
She told I Love Manchester: “To say I’m overwhelmed at the news is an understatement, I would like to thank everyone that got behind the Save Kendals campaign especially councillor Pat Karney, my colleagues in the city centre, I Love MCR and all the customers for the hundreds of messages of support.
“But I have to say the biggest thank you to all the store team, they have gone through a hard time and through it all we have supported each other and delivered Christmas like no other I’m so proud of them all.
“We have our staff party on Sunday and what was going to be the final one is now going to be some celebration!”
In a statement, House of Fraser said that Manchester City Council was instrumental in working alongside House of Fraser and the landlord to help secure the future of the store. It said: “Approximately 568 jobs have been saved and one of the region’s most iconic department stores lives on.”
Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “Today’s announcement is fantastic news for the city and I am proud that the council has been able to play a constructive role in saving a real Manchester icon and hundreds of jobs. I’d like to thank all involved for their positive engagement in this process.”
Ram Rasiah of CBRE, who represented House of Fraser, said: “This is a significant deal for Manchester and we are delighted to have agreed for Kendals to remain open.”
A huge closing down sale had been announced in October – just days after the closure was originally mooted.
It is now understood the closing down sale signs will be removed from the store windows as they prepare for the hectic festive onslaught of shoppers.