Wigan's WH Smith to Close
Wigan's WHSmith to close - and the in-house post office is at risk too
The operator of the in-house General Post Office within it has also quit, throwing into confusion both the future running and location - if any - of the key business in Wigan too.
Smiths has been in the town for decades and occupies about the most prominent retail pitch in the whole of Wigan centre, and yet the stationery, magazine, book and entertainment chain says it cannot “trade viably” from the site and will close its doors before the end of the year.
It is another piece of sickening news for Wigan which has already lost Marks and Spencer, Top Man and Top Shop; stricken Debenhams looks likely to close its huge department store soon and Smiths’ neighbour the Yorkshire Bank is putting up the shutters in the spring.
It is widely known that WHSmith, which used to be in the Galleries until it took over the Standishgate site from John Menzies when the Grand Arcade opened, has been in financial difficulties during the pandemic.
In recent years it has twice been branded the UK’s worst retailer for its in-store experience but remains a staple of many a high street.
While being among one of those essential businesses allowed to stay open during lockdowns its finances have still suffered badly because a lot of its briskest trade is done at airport terminals which have been nigh on deserted for much of the past 12 months.
A WHSmith spokesperson said: “We can confirm that the WHSmith store in Wigan will close later this year.
“Unfortunately, we are unable to trade viably from this location and the decision has been taken to close the store as a result of the lease expiry in December.
“We have been working with Post Office Limited in order to give them as much time as possible to find a suitable franchise partner to ensure continuity of Post Office services within the town.
We have been working with Post Office Limited in order to give them as much time as possible to find a suitable franchise partner to ensure continuity of Post Office services within the town.
“We are disappointed to be losing our presence in Wigan and remain very thankful to both our store colleagues and customers for their support.”
To much outcry and opposition, Wigan’s old GPO closed in June of 2019 in a cost-cutting exercise and, like many in the land, decamped across town to take up space within the local WHSmith.
Now its future is in double turmoil as it seeks a new home and someone to run it.
A Post Office spokesperson said: “The operator for Wigan Post Office has resigned and the branch is due to close at its current location in December.
“We know how important a Post Office is to a community. The vacancy is advertised on www.runapostoffice.co.uk. Any move would be subject to public consultation.”
Wigan Council has been trying to reinvent the town centre as less of a retail hub and more of one for hospitality, entertainment and accommodation.
It has big plans for The Galleries, having recently announced its chosen developer for the £130m project which would include a cinema, indoor golf and places to eat and drink, hundreds of new homes, a new market hall and a hotel.
That is forecast to be complete by 2025.
But at the rate things are going, it will have to be thinking of rescue plans for other parts of the town as well, long before then.
RDI, landlord for the Grand Arcade, which has been in receivership for the last year, declined to comment on the latest developments.
Wigan Council’s director of economy and skills Becca Heron said: “We are disappointed with this news as we understand how valuable this resource is to our community, however, all town centres are currently facing significant challenges and we know that retailers need to adapt to this.
“We remain committed to ensuring the town centre is a vibrant and prosperous place to visit through our long-term vision for Wigan.”
Started: 5th Feb 2021 at 13:13
I DID hear last week that they were closing i just think these people don't give a flying toss ,this is just another nail in WIGAN'S COFFIN as for the big white elephant ( grand arcade ) what a joke that place is can anyone wonder why people do not want or WILL NOT WANT TO COME INTO THE TOWN ANYMORE ! its like a ghost town as for this new development this is another JOKE BY THIS COUNCIL ...
Replied: 5th Feb 2021 at 14:30
We'll soon look like one of those ghost towns that you see in westerns..Mesnes St is rapidly heading that way...it's disgusting what's going on.
Replied: 5th Feb 2021 at 14:36
The thing is that folk would rather use the 'out of town' shopping centres like Robin Retail Park, where the shops are thriving, and they are adding shops and other retail premises to the place, not losing them.
Free parking is the main thing and everything is in one place, it is what folk want.
Replied: 5th Feb 2021 at 15:42
Wh smiths was rubbish, much preferred Woolies. My last 2 visits to town i noticed even the fella outside Wilkos with the accordion has give up on the town.
Replied: 5th Feb 2021 at 19:15
Sad for the staff but the place was a dismal shopping experience. They gave up on it years ago
Replied: 5th Feb 2021 at 20:49
It never seems to have any character does it.
Replied: 5th Feb 2021 at 20:52
If it was called "WH Smiths of Wigan" it would've been a different kettle of fish.
You only have to put "Wigan" somewhere in a title to gain widespread attention in eerrrrrrr, Wigan, Laaaaike!
Replied: 5th Feb 2021 at 20:54
It didn't save Smiths of Wigan unfortunately. And that was a real book shop.
Replied: 5th Feb 2021 at 21:04
Fancy, having a business in Liverpool called 'Wigan Dirt'! Whatever will they thinkof next?
Replied: 5th Feb 2021 at 21:33
Down the road from Higher Ince
There`s a place called Wigan town
Which had an Olympic swimming pool
Till the council pulled it down
It also had a market
Soon to disappear
And a famous rugby stadium
Where the masses came to cheer
And tucked away is a parish church
Shut for most the time
Not far from the galleries
Wasting away in decline
It had a Marks and Spencers
And a local Morrisons store
Handy for taxis and buses
At the rank and depot next door
Gone is the Ritz and Casino
Along with Wallpaper Supplies
And all that`s left is Squeezebox Joe,
Poundland, pigeons and pies.
Replied: 6th Feb 2021 at 10:34
just had a look, joanne, good site.
Replied: 6th Feb 2021 at 11:24
congratulations to kevin very good film well done .
Replied: 7th Feb 2021 at 13:25