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HomeLatest NewsCavendish House closure: End of an era!

Cavendish House closure: End of an era!

CHELTENHAM High Street takes a huge blow as it was announced that Cavendish House is to close after 200 years of trading.

Established on the Promenade in 1823 by Thomas Clark and William Debenham, the store thrived and lead to the partners expanding to Gloucester and other areas of the UK.

The store later became part of the House of Fraser Group which in 2018, was taken on by the Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley before becoming yet another department store to close, indicative of the current High Street climate across the UK today.
Over 90 staff members were informed of the closure on Monday 15th January and now face losing their jobs.
Both House of Fraser and Debenhams have been cutting their stores over the last few years, but maintain their online presence, a sign of our times.

As the cost-of-living crisis continues and the High Street faces the unwielding challenge of online shopping, the closure is unwelcome news for many but unsurprising looking at the House of Fraser trading pattern in recent years. The company has been steadily closing more and more of its stores with their focus being online.
The building itself isn’t owned by House of Fraser but Canada Life, an insurance and financial services company. Hopefully, the next phase in such an iconic building will be positive for the town centre but as yet, no plans have been put forward.

One member of staff who wished to remain anonymous said: “I’ve worked at the store for many years, my mother worked at the store, and it came as a shock. Until the government tax internet businesses accordingly so independent shops and the High Street can be on a level playing field, this will continue to go on and I fear Cheltenham will become a ghost town full of gambling shops, charity shops and take-aways which you can see in other towns.”

One member of the public outside the store said: “I couldn’t believe it when I saw the closing down signs, I’ve been shopping at Cavendish House for years. I regularly use the cafe, though I must admit, it’s quite expensive so I don’t buy many of my clothes from there.”
Signs promoting the 20% discounts and store closure went up shortly after the announcement, with the company announcing it was to close by April, though not offering an exact date as yet.

Cheltenham MP Alex Chalk said: “After 201 years, this is the end of an era. My thoughts are with the staff who have given fantastic service to the store and to Cheltenham, and for whom this will be a difficult time. They should be offered every support in the coming weeks.
“Looking forward, this is an opportunity to inject new life into the Prom.
“I favour a mixed-use development, with a blend of retail, recreation and quality town centre accommodation. With constant pressure to bulldoze green spaces on the edge of town, this is our chance to meet some of that demand.
“I will be working with Cheltenham BID and local businesses to begin a new chapter for Cavendish House as a thriving asset for our town.”
Hopefully the staff at Cavendish House will find employment elsewhere. Until a way can be found for high street stores to compete with internet shopping, sadly, this situation will continue in Cheltenham and beyond.



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