Carlisle’s Hoopers bids “a fond farewell” on its final day of trading
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Hoopers, the upmarket Carlisle department store whose closure was announced in May, is to finally shut at the close of trade today (Saturday 25 August).
As reported by BBC News, notices went up instore and on the Hoopers website yesterday, with a ‘Goodbye Sale’ post on the website wishing customers “A fond farewell from us all at Hoopers xx”.
Regular readers will know that talks had been ongoing for the last three months between Hoopers and the Langholm-based Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group, whose owner, Philip Day, had been looking to take over the Castle Street premises and retain it as an independent department store. An original planned closing date of 23 June was postponed while those discussions continued.
Though reports suggested that Day’s preference was “to avoid the store closing and staff being laid off before any takeover”, it seems that Hoopers’ closure today isn’t the end of the story. A licensing application for the Hoopers premises, received by Carlisle City Council on 31 July, is seeking a “premises licence to include new restaurant”, and though the information published on the Carlisle City Council website does not specify the applicant, the BBC’s report claims that it is indeed the EWM Group.
So, it’s likely to be a day of mixed emotions over in Cumbria: sadness for staff and customers that Hoopers’ presence in the city is coming to an end after just six years, but optimism that a new chapter for the historic building – which has housed a department store for over a century – may be just around the corner.
My retail consultancy business, CannyInsights.com, provides bespoke place- and sector-specific market intelligence, including coverage of both Cumbria and the department store sector. It also works with retailers nationwide to improve their stores, customer communications and market knowledge. For more information, visit www.cannyinsights.com, drop me an email, or give me a call on (0191) 461 0361.