100 jobs at risk in Lincoln as major retailers call in administrators
The job market in Lincolnshire was dealt a crushing blow this week as major retailers called in administrators.
Blockbuster became the third national chain to announce it was in trouble, putting around ten jobs under threat at its two Lincoln stores.
The DVD rental firm announced it was to enter administration on January 16.
The day before, music retailer HMV announced it had hit hard times, with up to 15 jobs at risk at its Lincoln High Street store.
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Meanwhile Jessops announced on Friday that it would be closing all its stores, including three in Lincolnshire.
The news comes on the back of another announcement that the Sony Centre in High Street, Lincoln, has closed after its parent company went into administration.
Up to 87 jobs are also at risk at the Walkers factory in Newark Road.
Together, it means more than 100 jobs are at risk in the city.
Simon Beardsley, chief executive of the Lincolnshire chamber of commerce, believes Lincoln is the victim of national circumstances.
He said: "Unfortunately, Lincoln is on the receiving end of some big national companies going into administration.
"It was predicted that there could be a number of national companies running into difficulties in the New Year.
"But I do not think anyone expected the pace to be so quick and so many household names as there has been.
"We are terribly disappointed to hear about the increasing number of businesses that are finding it difficult to trade at this particular time.
"But what the figures do not highlight are the wider implications that business closures will have, not only on employees who are at the sharp end of such news, but also the ripple effect the closures will have on local supply chains and Lincoln's wider business community.
"While it is very disappointing to hear that Walkers might have potential job losses, I am hopeful that the level of investment being discussed in Lincoln will ensure its future as an efficient production site for years to come.
"The high street is going through a sort of revolution at the moment in terms of how peoples' shopping habits have changed.
"The Mary Portas project, which is currently running in Market Rasen, could give us some advice about how Lincoln can use changing shopping habits as an opportunity and not a threat."
Lincoln already has a much higher than average rate of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA).
Currently, there are 3,177 people claiming the benefit in the city. That is 5.2 per cent of the working-age population. The average in Great Britain is 3.8 per cent.
The figure has almost doubled since January 2006, when 1,738 people were claiming JSA.
Matt Corrigan, chief executive of Lincoln Business Improvement Group, believes HMV could survive in a new guise.
He also believes that retailers still want to be based on Lincoln High Street, despite the collapse of Jessops and HMV.
He said: "With HMV, the world has moved on in terms of downloads.
"The first thing is to see if HMV can survive in a different guise. If it gets the business right then it's still viable. Ironically, there has been an increase in people buying vinyl.
"We still have retailers that want to be on the High Street in Lincoln, even with internet sales and out of town retail.
"If we want the High Street to be the focal point for our community, as social and community places, then it's important to keep businesses there."