Scores of jobs go in bakery store cull as new owner saves stricken chain

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MORE than 150 people are to lose their jobs after a troubled bakery chain was bought out.

Durham-based Peters went into administration earlier this year, putting the future of its 400-strong workforce in to doubt.

Now it has been announced that 208 employees will keep their posts in the buy-out, which will see 34 stores close and 22 stay open.

Of those axed, 12 are on Wearside, in Durham City or East Durham,

However, 14 of the area’s shops will stay open.

Those which have closed were told of their store’s demise when they turned up for work yesterday. The shops did not open for trade.

The remaining branches have been bought by Scarborough-based Coopland and Son.

The firm is considering whether to rebrand them to put its name over the doors.

KPMG, which announced the deal, has said four people working in Peters’ distribution team and two members of staff from the company’s head office have also been made redundant, in addition to 149 shopworkers.

The sale also includes the handover of the Peters’ headquarters in Durham’s Dragonville Industrial Estate.

Its 69 staff will transfer over, as will the operation of its retail van business, which sells goods to businesses and on industrial estates, which involves 10 employees.

Mark Firmin, joint administrator and regional head of restructuring at KPMG, said: “We undertook negotiations with several interested parties and this deal represents the best outcome for both the creditors and the employees of the company. It means that as much of the business as possible will continue to trade under the new ownership of Cooplands, safeguarding more than 200 jobs.”

Last month, KPMG closed three of its stores, the Loaf-branded shop in Pity Me and Peters shops in Billingham and Stockton, making 17 people redundant.

Peters, which had a turnover of £12million, said it had been hit by the rising cost of materials, an increase in its energy bills and tough trading conditions.

The company’s main factory was refurbished and kitted out with the latest equipment in a £9million refurbishment after a devastating fire in 2004.

The family-run business was founded 46 years ago.

Twitter: @EchoEastDurham

Fate of shops:

CLOSED:

Blackhall

Easington Colliery

Fence Houses

Gilesgate and Saddler Street, Durham

Horden

Seaham

Shotton Colliery

Blandford Street and Union Street, both Sunderland

Thornley

Wheatley Hill.

SAVED:

Framwellgate, Elvet, Sherburn and Belmont, all Durham

Houghton

Hetton

Front Street and St Cuthbert’s Walk, both Chester-le-Street

Peterlee

Washington

North Road

Shiney Row

Southwick

Carrhouse, Pity Me.