This post was first published by Croydon Advertiser on 13/08/2018.
One-time flagship Clas Ohlson shop in Croydon will close in a matter of days
The Swedish company opened its first UK store in Croydon’s Whitgift Centre back in 2008.
Swedish homeware and hardware store Clas Ohlson has announced when its flagship UK shop in Croydon will close for good.
There is only a matter of days left until the closure of the Whitgift Centre store which was once heralded as a major coup for the borough.
It will shut on Thursday, August 16, and a closing down sale is taking place.
The international household goods retailer is closing the branch, which was its first to open in the UK in 2008, as part of a cost-cutting plan to save about £6.4 million.
The 20,000 square foot store in the Whitgift Centre, which also fronts North End, has become well known for stocking a huge range of household goods, DIY work tools, electronics and gadgets.
The company closed six stores across the country in the 2016/17 financial year and announced Croydon would be the seventh in its annual report published in July 2017 as part of its “restructure” in the UK.
According to its website, it will only have four stores remaining in the UK – in Kingston-Upon-Thames, Ealing in west London, St Albans and Reading.
The closure comes at the time when Croydon Limited Partnership (CLP), which is in charge of delivering Westfield Croydon, is going through the compulsory purchase order (CPO) process.
This means the remaining land around the Whitfgift Centre needed for the development is being bought up. The council gave the green light for the CPO powers in June.
Work to demolish the Whitgift Centre is scheduled to get underway in September 2019 and all being well the shops at Westfield are forecast to open in spring 2023 – 10 years after the project was first given the go-ahead.
Announcing the Croydon closure last year, Clas Ohlson said it wanted to concentrate on smaller “new-look” stores in the London area.
In the annual report, the company said: “During the 2016/17 financial year, we implemented a restructuring programme in the UK that focused on concentrating on smaller-format stores [in] the London region.
“As a result, we closed six stores during the year in the UK market.
“We will continue to increase brand awareness and concentrate operations in the London region during the 2017/18 financial year.”
In the report, the company blames the British economy which “slowed somewhat during 2016”, negative consumer confidence and an increase in online shopping.
The company has dozens of stores in its native Sweden, as well as branches in Norway, Germany and Dubai.