STAFF at a popular Southampton fashion store have been left “stunned” after their shop closed without warning.
Employees at West One, in the Marlands shopping centre, were given the news by company bosses in a shock meeting yesterday morning.
The outlet’s eight female staff members were left to clear out the remaining stock at the shop after being informed that they would be losing their jobs.
It is understood that the retailer, which has almost 20 shops across the UK, was last night on the verge of going into administration following a period of poor trading.
The closure comes as yet another blow to the high street, after games and DVD giants HMV and Blockbuster both plunged into administration earlier this year. Yesterday it was announced 66 HMV stores would be closed over the next two months, affecting 930 staff.
Vicky Cullen, 19, who was manager at the Southampton store, said she was at home on annual leave when she received the devastating call from the company’s area manager.
Vicky, who has worked at the store since September 2010, immediately rushed to the shop upon hearing the news.
She told the Daily Echo: “It was massive shock. I got a phone call and this woman started explaining my redundancy rights and I said: ‘Excuse me, I want to be there with the rest of my staff.’ “We had feelings things were going downhill, but we thought it would be okay.
“We had no notice whatsoever. It was the first we had heard of it and we’ve been given no explanation.”
Vicky revealed that a number of her staff will now be struggling to pay bills and rent following the sudden closure.
She added: “Where do we go from here? We haven’t been told where we stand with redundancy or what we are entitled to. We are all stunned. We just want to get back into work as soon as we can.”
A notice on the West One website yesterday gave no indication of the trading problems, simply stating: “Site currently under maintenance. Sorry for any inconvenience.”
The Daily Echo understands that West One has approached Leonard Curtis business solutions group as potential administrators.