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Old May 4th, 2010, 01:30 AM   #1
Newcastle Historian
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Tyne Valley Area (Hexham, Corbridge, Prudhoe, etc) - Developments

As part of our remit to cover issues and projects in South Northumberland, I notice that we do not have a thread for Tyne Valley Developments.

So, I thought I should start one, as it is about the only part of our patch that we have not got covered now, and it starts with some disappointing news, in the following post . .



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Last edited by Newcastle Historian; May 4th, 2010 at 01:43 AM.
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Old May 4th, 2010, 01:33 AM   #2
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Robb’s survival under question – again
Hexham Courant, Friday 30 April 2010.



THE future of Robb’s Store in Hexham again appeared to be hanging by a thread this week as it emerged that concession holders in the shop are owed tens of thousands of pounds.

An emergency meeting of some of the concession holders was being held yesterday lunchtime to discuss possible legal action against store operators Vergo Retail.

Matters came to a head on Friday morning when contract cleaners arriving at the store for their shifts were pulled out because their company had not been paid.

And during the week, it was clear that other operators within the store were also owed large sums of money.

One concession holder, who did not wish to be named, said: “It’s an absolute disgrace.

“Some of us are owed £30,000 each, with others owed anything from £8,000 to £12,000.

“We have been trying without success to get through to Vergo Retail in Liverpool, but our calls are not being returned.”

A cleaner, who also wished to remain anonymous, said: “These people don’t seem to realise that we have mortgages to pay and other commitments.”

Robb’s actually operates very few of the departments within the store directly, with most services prov ided on a franchise basis.

Cash paid over the tills goes to Vergo Retail, who reimburse the concession operators on a monthly basis, less their rental charges.

However, it is understood last month’s payments were not made – and some concession holders have not been paid since Christmas.


REST OF ARTICLE HERE - http://www.hexhamcourant.co.uk/news/...errerPath=home
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Old May 8th, 2010, 11:58 AM   #3
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Further bad news for Robbs Department Store . .

Jobs under threat at North East Department Stores
May 8 2010 by Robert Weatherall, The Journal


WORKERS at two of the region's Department Stores are facing an uncertain future for the second time in three years after their parent company went into administration.

Staff at Robbs of Hexham and Joplings of Sunderland have been told that parent company Vergo Retail Limited has been put into administration.

Hundreds of staff at the two sites were given the news yesterday (FRI) by managers on site.

It is the second time in three years that workers have been left fearing for their futures.

Administrators MCR have been appointed to try to sell the company, which has 17 other outlets across the UK, as a going concern.

Sarah Bell, a partner at MCR, said Vergo had suffered as a result of the downturn in the economy and the tightening up of lending making it difficult to re-finance debt.

She said: “Unfortunately the company has endured periods of financial loss.

“It has made efforts following the recently announced closure of the Lewis’s store in Liverpool, to seek new finance to restructure the business but has been unsuccessful in finding a going concern solution.

“Like many retailers, it has experienced a difficult trading environment during the economic downturn.”

Vergo was established three years ago by businessman David Thompson, when his previous company Owen Owen, which ran 19 stores in all, collapsed with debts of £6.8m.

He was able to continue trading when he set up Vergo Retail.

Speaking at the time he said: “I have every confidence in Robbs. It is a strong business with a good future.

“While I can be knocked for going into administration, I have put many millions of pounds into this business because I believe in it.”

The administrators have suggested that the company will be able to continue to trade for at least a month while efforts are made to find a buyer.

There has been no indication on whether the different branches of the business could be sold off individually.


http://www.journallive.co.uk/north-e...1634-26403936/

Last edited by Newcastle Historian; January 28th, 2015 at 06:46 PM.
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Old May 9th, 2010, 01:19 AM   #4
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Silence over Hexham bus station re-development, is ‘suspicious’

Helen Compson, Hexham Courant, Friday, 07 May 2010



The public is being kept in the dark about a new development vital to Hexham’s economy, said two leading figures this week.

Hexham Civic Society chairman Tim Tatman and the town’s Mayor Coun. Terry Robson both criticised Northumberland County Council’s handling of the proposed redevelopment of Hexham bus station.

Despite its stated policy of community involvement, the council had so far failed to either consult with interested parties or provide the information requested, said Mr Tatman on Tuesday.

The situation was all the more worrying because the council had signed an exclusivity agreement with Newcastle-based development company Dysart in January that guaranteed the latter a year in which to draw up plans for the redevelopment.

Yet there had been no discernible progress, at least as far as the public was concerned, and no other developer was allowed to enter the arena until the year was out.

“The civic society has no objection in principle to the exclusivity agreement, but we are concerned about the lack of information being made available,” he said.

“The silence makes you suspicious and that leads to speculation.

“This is an absolutely vital site for Hexham town centre – it will have a big impact on the character and the vitality of the town.

“So I think that trying to hide things from the public in case they become excited about something that is only a developmental idea is seriously misjudging the public.”

Mr Tatman took the opportunity to promote a new exhibition that opens in Scott’s cafe at the Forum Cinema next Friday.

Repeating an exercise first carried out last year, a group of Newcastle University urban design students will display their ideas about what should replace the bus station.


REST OF ARTICLE HERE - http://www.hexhamcourant.co.uk/news/...errerPath=home


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Last edited by Newcastle Historian; May 9th, 2010 at 01:28 AM.
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Old May 10th, 2010, 01:29 PM   #5
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Walked through Robbs on Saturday. Very sad, departments already packing up and dismantling shelves. Looks like a Hexham institution could be gone for good. Hopefully it doesn't end up as flats. What will happen to the town's only post office if Robbs shuts?

On the bus station development, it is in real need of redevlopment, but must stay in it's current central location. It would be nice if they could create a nice link to the Marks and Spencer car park with added retail space and hopefully someone will buy Robbs and create a good retail link to Fore Street and the market.
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Old May 12th, 2010, 07:53 PM   #6
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This was the happy end to the story, after the last "Robbs Closure Crisis", as recently as 2007 . . .

Robbs Of Hexham Saved



Hexham breathed a sigh of relief when Robbs received a reprieve from certain closure. The announcement was made following tense last minute negotiations, which saw Robbs of Hexham saved by the owner of the company whose massive debts nearly spelt the end for the historical department store.

David Thompson, who purchased Robbs’ parent company Owen Owen in 2005, bought back the store under his new company name Vergo Retail Limited. Debts of over £6 million that had forced the former company into liquidation earlier this year would be written off. This would probably be of no concern to the 140 employees of the store who had endured almost a month of uncertainty, or the townsfolk, to whom the loss of Hexham’s first and most famous department store would be like a personal bereavement.

William Robb opened the first, tiny store in 1818 after falling in love with the town during his many excursions from Leith in Scotland to sell his Linens in the market. His descendants kept the business in the family and evolved it through increasingly larger premises, until it moved to the south end of Fore Street in 1928, opposite its present site.

The store continued its expansion under the careful management of the fondly remembered Derek Robb, a victim of Polio whose circuits of the store in his electric wheelchair were a regular sight. In the seventies the department store even acquired its own Hairdressing Salon and traders such as WH Smith, Topshop and Topman, Burton and Bay Trading flocked to set up concessions.

Following financial difficulties in 1986 Robbs was merged with Joplings of Sunderland and a year later both stores were sold to the Merchant Retail Group, effectively ending the Robbs dynasty in all but name. During the nineties Robbs flourished and soon expanded into a sister store, Tynedale Park. Both stores brought customers into the town from far and wide until 2004 when in a shock move Merchant Retail put both stores up for sale. Tesco snapped up Tynedale Park and the Liverpool-based Owen Owen took over Robbs along with its staff.

As an ex-staff member at Robbs, as well as a lifelong resident of Hexham I can’t begin to tell you how relieved I am that we are no longer going to lose this vital and intrinsic institution. Whether you just used the store as a shortcut between streets on a rainy or cold day, idly passed time inside its many departments or used its warm, spacious interior as a meeting place for yourself and your friends, it is unlikely that anyone who has spent a good chunk of their lives in Hexham hasn’t made use of, and enjoyed, Robbs of Hexham - and will continue to for many years to come.


This article is from the Hexham Website 'My Village' - http://hexham.myvillage.com/article/...f-hexham-saved
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Old May 12th, 2010, 07:58 PM   #7
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THAT was three years ago, then today we hear this . . .

Robbs of Hexham and Joplings of Sunderland
to close in 4 weeks time.

BBC Newcastle, 12th May 2010.


Two historic North East Department Stores are to close after their owner went into administration.

Robbs of Hexham and Joplings in Sunderland had been sold to Vergo Retail in 2007 and today administrators MCR said Vergo Retail had now gone into administration

This means that their nine stores across England would close.

It said the stores would shut in four weeks with a loss of 335 jobs in total, although it could not rule out the possibility that they may be sold.

The other stores are in Clacton-on-Sea, Colchester, Dovercourt and Witham in Essex, Stowmarket, in Suffolk, Plymouth and Norwich.

Sarah Bell, partner at MCR, said: "Following a financial review of the business it was apparent it could not continue to trade in the short term without implementing immediate cost saving measures."

"There is an opportunity for interested parties to come forward and rescue the remaining business as a going concern."

Last edited by Newcastle Historian; May 12th, 2010 at 08:07 PM.
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Old May 13th, 2010, 11:13 AM   #8
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Students weigh in to debate over Hexham bus station
May 13 2010 by Tony Henderson, The Journal


STUDENTS have weighed in to the long-running debate on the future of a town centre bus station site.

It is hoped the closure of the bus station in Priestpopple in Hexham and its redevelopment would boost the town centre and attract more people.

Urban design students from Newcastle University were asked to come up with proposals for the bus station and surrounding sites, including Robbs store which is to close after parent company Vergo Retail Ltd crashed.

Northumberland County Council has signed an agreement with Dysart Developments which allows the company a year in which to come up with a scheme for the bus station site, and to work towards submitting a plan.

This work will include carrying out consultation with local residents, organisations and businesses.


REST OF ARTICLE HERE - http://www.journallive.co.uk/north-e...1634-26434895/
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Old May 22nd, 2010, 03:25 PM   #9
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National chain eyes up Robbs
HELEN COMPSONP, Hexham Courant, Friday, 21 May 2010


PHOTO taken the last time Robbs was about to close, in 2007.

A POTENTIAL last-minute saviour has expressed an interest in taking over the doomed Robbs department store in Hexham.

National department store chain Beales, has lodged formal notice of interest in the store with administrators MCR.

Representatives of Beales were looking round the property yesterday.

And while it is early days to talk of any deal, the interest alone has given the 120 people who work at the store at least a glimmer of hope.

Started in Bournemouth in 1881, Beales adopted an expansion programme in the 1960s, now has 11 stores spread across Bedford, Southport, Bolton, Winchester, Kendal, Yeovil, Worthing, Tonbridge and Horsham.

Most trade under the Beales name, but the group also includes Whitakers Department Store in Bolton, Broadbent & Boothroyds in Southport, and Denners in Yeovil, in Somerset.

It focuses on specific merchandise categories, principally womenswear, mens-wear, gifts, cosmetics and light homewares.

As well as its main stores Beales operates a successful online shopping service.

The interest by Beales has come as the administrators have called on owners of the Robb’s building the Buccleuch Group, and Northumberland County Counci, to waive rent and rents for the next 10 weeks.

They feel the business would be more attractive if it was marketed as a going concern.

The rates alone for the building are thought to be around £100,000 a year.

A spokesman for the administrators said: “MCR hasn’t heard back from either party yet, but MCR is asking them to waive the rent and rates to give it longer to sell the store.

“The store was due to close within four weeks, but the closure could be put back to 10 weeks if agreement is reached.”


REST OF ARTICLE HERE - http://www.hexhamcourant.co.uk/news/...errerPath=home
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Old May 24th, 2010, 11:11 PM   #10
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Hi all,

I've been blogging about the threat to Robbs here, and did an analysis of Beales ahead of the Courant's story on Friday.

Hopefully the promise of a takeover will come good!
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Old May 30th, 2010, 12:42 AM   #11
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Store group pursues takeover bid for Robb’s
By HELEN COMPSON, Hexham Courant, Friday 28 May 2010


A TAKEOVER deal which would secure the future of the Robb’s department store in Hexham could soon be clinched.

Dorset-based store group Beales was this week involved in advanced negotiations with the Buccleuch Group, owner of the Robb’s premises, and MCR, administrators of the troubled Vergo Group, owner of the Robb’s business.

If the deal goes ahead, it is likely to safeguard most, if not all, of the 120 jobs at Robb’s and avoid the possibility of seeing Hexham’s retail landmark boarded up.

Beales chief executive Tony Brown is understood to have visited Robb’s and is keen to add it to his stable of 11 market town department stores.

He said: “We are continuing to pursue our interest. We are still in talks with both the landlord and the administrators.”

Retail analyst Graham Soult said Mr Brown’s track record suggested Beales would be good for the future of Robb’s and the future of Hexham as a shopping centre.

Since he took the helm at Beales in 2007, Mr Brown has revived the fortunes of the group and overseen a major overhaul of its stores which include one in Kendal.

Mr Soult said: “If Beales does take over Robb’s, it will really improve the store.”


FULL ARTICLE HERE - http://www.hexhamcourant.co.uk/news/...errerPath=home
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Old May 31st, 2010, 08:46 PM   #12
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No changes in £30m Prudhoe centre plan
ROBERT GIBSON, Hexham Courant, Friday, 28 May 2010 - [email protected]


THE Duke of Northumberland’s redevelopment plans for Prudhoe are to go out for public consultation again – completely unaltered from their original form.

Planning permission for the £30 million scheme, which initially attracted over 4,000 objections, was recently quashed by a High Court judge, as no environmental impact assessment had taken place. It had previously been given the go-ahead by Tynedale Council.

Protesters hoped their victory at the High Court would lead to a rethink of the project, but this week Northumberland Estates development director Colin Barnes said this would not happen.

Although more detail will be included in the new plans, their contents will remain the same, and Mr Barnes was confident they would soon be passed.

“Neither local planning policy nor the proposals have changed since the previous decision to approve and we are advised that the environmental statement is unlikely to throw up any new issues not previously considered, given much of the work required formed part of the original submission,” he said.

“At a national level, new planning guidance favours town centre sites and there is greater recognition of the role which retail development has to play in boosting employment and economic regeneration within the local economy.”

The scheme, which covers a large stretch of land, would include a new Sainsbury’s store, a multi-storey car park and more than 150 new homes.

A new town square and extra shops would also be created, but one existing block of businesses and the current United Services Club would go.


FULL ARTICLE HERE - http://www.hexhamcourant.co.uk/news/...=news/1.223102
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Old June 5th, 2010, 02:04 PM   #13
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Some REALLY GOOD news . . .

Takeover deal saves Hexham store
Hexham Courant, Friday 04 June 2010



THE future of the Robbs department store in Hexham and its 140 jobs have been saved in a £250,000 takeover deal.

Department store group Beales confirmed the buy-out on Friday morning, after clinching an agreement with MCR, the administrators charged with the task of looking after the assets of beleaguered Vergo Retail, former owner of Robbs.

In a statement, Beales said, in terms of demographics and trading history, the Hexham store was a good addition to its portfolio of 11 market town outlets.

Beales chief executive Tony Beales was reported as saying: “It will take 12 months to get it back to where it should be. It will be a difficult road to return it to profitability but we will get there.”

He indicated there would investment at Robbs, which would include some refitting work and a review of its concessions and own brand goods.

ARTICLE HERE - http://www.hexhamcourant.co.uk/news/...errerPath=home


Then, the following day, the good news (and more DETAIL) was confirmed in the Journal . .

Hexham store is rescued from the axe again
Jun 5 2010 by Chris Knox, The Journal

A HISTORIC Northumberland department store has survived a three-year battle for survival after being bought by a retail group in a deal which saves the jobs of its 76 staff.

Robbs department store in Hexham has been bought by the JE Beale retail group following the collapse into administration of its former owner Vergo Retail Limited.

It is not the first time that Robbs has been saved. There was an announcement in early May 2007 that it was to close in under two weeks when its then owners Owen Owen went into administration.

The store was saved later that year following a dramatic last ditch purchase by Vergo.

However, Vergo has since been badly hit by the economic downturn, forcing it to bring in administrators MCR last month to help sell on its portfolio of stores. It immediately announced the redundancy of 335 staff across the business, including 20 at the Hexham store.

The 182-year-old Robbs was also earmarked for demolition in 2008 to make way for a shopping development, but the scheme was shelved.

The 76 workers at the store have transferred to Bournemouth-based JE Beale, which runs 12 UK department stores.

Tony Brown, chief executive of JE Beale, said that he was signing a 15-year lease on the building and was looking to get the workforce back up to around 100.

He said: “The way this store has been managed over the last three years has been almost sinful, with a lack of investment and under-stocking two of the main reasons for its lack of success.

“We have a good track record of running market town department stores and are determined to provide Robbs with a profitable future.”

Sarah Bell, partner of MCR, said: “Following an effective administration process, we are delighted to confirm the sale of such an iconic store in the region.

“It’s positive news for both the 76 company employees whose jobs will be directly transferred to the new owners as well as the local community.”

The news was yesterday welcomed by local councillors.

Hexham councillor Terry Robson said: “This is absolutely fantastic news for the community of Hexham as Robbs is key to the economic health of the area, both as one of the centre’s biggest employers and as a symbol of its importance to the rest of the North East.”

ARTICLE HERE - http://www.nebusiness.co.uk/business...1140-26591953/


Some PHOTOS of Robbs, from Robbs own website . . .

The side nentrance to Robbs, on Battle Hill . .


Part of the main frontage and entrance, on Fore Street . .


Another view of the 'side frontage & entrance', on Battle Hill . .


Main frontage of Robbs, looking down Fore Street from Battle Hill . .


.

Last edited by Newcastle Historian; June 6th, 2010 at 11:04 AM.
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Old June 6th, 2010, 11:12 AM   #14
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From the "Beales Department Stores" Website . .



NEW STORE ACQUIRED IN HEXHAM
04/06/2010

As part of our growth plans, we are pleased to announce the acquisition of the Department Store of Robbs of Hexham from MCR, the Administrator of Vergo Retail Limited, through our primary trading subsidiary of J E Beale plc.

The demographics of Hexham and the trading history of Robbs align well with those of ours.

The transaction increases our portfolio to twelve stores, primarily in Market Towns.

The Board are delighted that the Company has been able to acquire the Robbs store taking it out of administration and securing its future.

For further information:
Beale PLC
Tony Brown, Chief Executive
Ken Owst, Finance Director
Tel: 01202 552022

Astaire Securities
Antony Legge
Toby Gibbs
Tel: 020 7448 4400
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Old June 6th, 2010, 04:24 PM   #15
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This is great news.

I grew up in Hexham and Robbs has always been the focal point for retail in the town. I'm pleased it's been taken over by an established group who will invest in it. The stock inside over the last few years had become somewhat 'dated', to put it politely.

Cant wait to go back when it's all done!
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Old June 7th, 2010, 10:39 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newcastle Historian View Post
Silence over Hexham bus station re-development, is ‘suspicious’

Helen Compson, Hexham Courant, Friday, 07 May 2010



The public is being kept in the dark about a new development vital to Hexham’s economy, said two leading figures this week.

Hexham Civic Society chairman Tim Tatman and the town’s Mayor Coun. Terry Robson both criticised Northumberland County Council’s handling of the proposed redevelopment of Hexham bus station.

Despite its stated policy of community involvement, the council had so far failed to either consult with interested parties or provide the information requested, said Mr Tatman on Tuesday.

The situation was all the more worrying because the council had signed an exclusivity agreement with Newcastle-based development company Dysart in January that guaranteed the latter a year in which to draw up plans for the redevelopment.

Yet there had been no discernible progress, at least as far as the public was concerned, and no other developer was allowed to enter the arena until the year was out.

“The civic society has no objection in principle to the exclusivity agreement, but we are concerned about the lack of information being made available,” he said.

“The silence makes you suspicious and that leads to speculation.

“This is an absolutely vital site for Hexham town centre – it will have a big impact on the character and the vitality of the town.

“So I think that trying to hide things from the public in case they become excited about something that is only a developmental idea is seriously misjudging the public.”

Mr Tatman took the opportunity to promote a new exhibition that opens in Scott’s cafe at the Forum Cinema next Friday.

Repeating an exercise first carried out last year, a group of Newcastle University urban design students will display their ideas about what should replace the bus station.


REST OF ARTICLE HERE - http://www.hexhamcourant.co.uk/news/...errerPath=home


.
Domingo Grande would be gutted that nothing has been done with the site, it's been nearly 10 years since he died.
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Old June 12th, 2010, 11:54 AM   #17
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New era of investment for Robbs
By Helen Compson, Hexham Courant, Friday, 11 June 2010



HEXHAM breathed a sigh of relief this week as department store chain Beales clinched a £250,000 deal to buy Robbs.

As shown in the above PHOTO, Beales chief executive Tony Brown got straight down to business on Monday by giving some much sought after reassurance.

The 100-plus jobs at Robb’s are safe, the post office will be retained, and the food hall is here to stay.

Although the other 11 stores in the Dorset-based Beales chain are more notable for their mix of clothes and household goods, Mr Brown said: “I spent 19 years with Asda – I can do food! “The food hall is here to stay, 100 per cent. I just want to make it better.”

With that, he signalled the start of a two-year programme of investment in the store designed to undo the neglect of recent years. Refurbishment work will run throughout the summer, ready for a store relaunch on September 1, but then there will be a break to allow for Christmas trading.

Mr Brown admitted there was a lot to do. “In these cases, when you are buying a store in administration, you don’t get a great opportunity to do due diligence – there is a big leap of faith. “We have a clear picture now, and there are more challenges than we thought there would be.

“We need to get the space working better for us, get the right brands in place and get over the reputation issues. Robb’s has been a poor servant, recently, to the town.” Having signed a 15-year lease with the owners of the Robbs building, Scottish property company Buccleuch Group, Mr Brown said he intended to take Robb’s more upmarket.

“I greatly admire Fenwick’s and John Lewis, and we try to get that type of quality and brand-mix.”

Beales has three in-house clothes brands and its own range of household goods and linens, but negotiations are already under way with several national fashion houses. Jacques Vert, Alexon, Joules, Noa Noa and Craghopper are all on the horizon for women, while Mr Brown is aware of the need to cater for young people, too.

The Wrangler, Levi, Esprit and Jack Jones ranges could all be brought in quite easily. And talks are taking place to bring Miss Selfridge to Hexham.

A cosmetics hall will be re-installed in the first round of refurbishments, providing a bright, polished front-of-house.

A show of hands revealed the overwhelming majority of staff were in favour of keeping the Robbs name. So while their wish will be granted, the marketing banner ‘Robbs, part of the Beales family’ will be used from now on.


FULL ARTICLE HERE - http://www.hexhamcourant.co.uk/news/...errerPath=home
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Old September 3rd, 2010, 05:54 PM   #18
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£2m refit heralds new era for Robbs
By HELEN COMPSON, Hexham Courant, 3rd September 2010



ROBBS rose phoenix-like from the ashes this week when the first phase of a £2 million refit was unveiled to the public.

The tatty interior and the stock that looked like it had come from a warehouse clearance sale had been replaced with sparkling, crisp displays and big name brands by the time Hexham’s Mayor Coun. Terry Robson cut the ribbon on Wednesday.

“I declare this store ‘open’ for several more generations to come,” he said.

The triumphal relaunch of Hexham’s historic department store by new owner’s Beales won plaudits from local businesses and shoppers alike.

Coun. Robson spoke for many when he said: “Hand on heart, I’m really pleased to be here, because Robbs is so crucial to the economy of this town – it is vital!

“It has been here for generations and the whole retail offer in Hexham depends on it.”

In a move expected to give a further fillip to tourism businesses and fellow traders, the store is set to open every Sunday for the first time, from 11am until 4pm.

The purchase of Robbs – it was the only one of previous owner Vergo Retail’s 20-strong chain to be rescued from liquidation – has also secured more than 100 jobs.

Beales chief executive Tony Brown, who was recruited to turn around the Beales chain which was itself floundering three years ago, said Robbs was now going from strength to strength.

With the chain’s headquarters located in Bournemouth and the majority of its department stores in the south, Robbs is the most northerly of the stable, but the Beales name and track record has attracted a whole host of prestigious retail brands to Hexham, that until now have been associated largely with Newcastle City Centre and the MetroCentre.

Front of house are cosmetics and perfume brands such as Clinique, Estee Lauder, Clarins and Chanel, while the Wallis women’s range is a real coup in the fashion departments.

It is joined by other quality lines such as Jacques Vert, Joules and Fransa and, for the men, Esprit, Henri Lloyd, Timberland, Fred Perry, Levi and Wrangler.


FULL ARTICLE HERE - http://www.hexhamcourant.co.uk/news/...errerPath=home
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Old September 3rd, 2010, 07:23 PM   #19
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Went to Robbs on Wednesday for the grand opening and was very pleased with what I saw, it was like I walked into a totally different shop. The best way I could describe it as a mini Fenwicks. I don't like the new black Robbs logo and a bit of the shop still looks very dark. However, the menswear department ha been brought out of the dark ages and the new cosmetics hall is a nice, bright enterance to the shop. Can't wait to see their plans for the next steps in the refit starting in February.
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Old September 27th, 2010, 11:29 AM   #20
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Lottery cash boost for Hexham Abbey project
September 27th 2010, by Tony Henderson, The Journal



PLANS can now be drawn up for the return of a building lost to an abbey more than 450 years ago.

The Heritage Lottery Fund will today announce its initial support for £1.8m project by Hexham Abbey.

It means that plans can now be developed for a major heritage regeneration project which aims to breathe life back into former monastic buildings adjoining the abbey.

The project has been awarded £175,000 by the Heritage Lottery Fund to help develop plans which include re-acquiring and refurbishing the Carnaby Building and monastic workshops adjoining the abbey, which were lost to the church at the time of the Reformation.

The Carnaby building was last used by Northumberland County Council social services department but has been empty for more than a year.

Project manager Fiona Standfield said: “A lot of money will have to be spent to consolidate the building.”

The abbey proposals for use of the building include interpretation and education centres and space for community uses.

The building would be used to tell the story of Hexham, the role of the abbey in its history and Northumberland as a cradle of Christianity.

“Hexham has a huge amount of heritage and history and the project would mean we would be in a position to share that with people,” said Fiona.


Read More - http://www.journallive.co.uk/north-e...#ixzz10iUOPiWL
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