440 jobs saved at department store

SOME 442 jobs were saved today after administrators of department store chain TJ Hughes announced an agreement to sell four stores to a housewares firm.

Lewis's Home Retail has acquired TJ Hughes' shop in Glasgow, as well as stores in Liverpool, Eastbourne and Sheffield.

The completion of the sales will see all employees in these stores transfer to Lewis's Home Retail, administrators Ernst & Young said. Liverpool-based TJ Hughes called in the administrators in June - putting 4,000 jobs at risk - after a difficult period of trading, as nervous consumers put off purchases of big-ticket items such as fridges and TVs.

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Ernst & Young said it continued to seek a sale of the company's remaining business and assets, which includes 53 remaining stores.

Joint administrator Tom Jack said: "We are delighted to have exchanged contracts on this deal, which saves 442 jobs and continues the TJ Hughes legacy in Liverpool, as well as in other locations across the UK."

TJ Hughes was previously owned by private equity group Silverfleet, which bought the company for about 70 million in 2003. The retailer was founded in Liverpool in 1912 by Thomas Hughes.

It offers products across homewares, soft furnishings, beauty and fragrance, menswear, lingerie, toys and electrical items.

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