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End of an era for Bury St Edmunds Topshop Topman staff as they close its doors for the final time




It was the end of an era for ‘heartbroken and gutted’ staff as they closed the doors of a Bury St Edmunds shop for a final time - marking the end of careers spanning decades.

The remaining team, hailed as a ‘family’, at Topshop Topman in the arc shopping centre have been clearing stock for the last week and spent their final day at work together yesterday.

Topshop stores have closed after online fashion retailer Asos bought the brand but not its shops in the wake of the collapse of the Arcadia retail empire.

Staff at Topshop Topman in the arc shopping centre in Bury St Edmunds closed the doors on the store for the final time yesterday. Picture by Mark Westley
Staff at Topshop Topman in the arc shopping centre in Bury St Edmunds closed the doors on the store for the final time yesterday. Picture by Mark Westley

Tom Dines, store manager, said prior to the Covid-19 pandemic the Bury shop had been ‘profitable’ and staff were ‘gutted’ by its demise.

“It was a bit of a shock to the system because I don’t think we were really expecting it,” he said.

“We all thought we would have survived this and someone would have bought us and taken on the stores. We’re all in a bit of disbelief.”

The 34-year-old worked for Arcadia for 18 years having started at Topshop, in Ipswich, and has worked in Bury for two years.

“I haven’t properly looked into my next chapter yet,” he said. “I don’t want to go with another retailer and have the chance of potentially being made redundant again. I want to go into something a bit more stable.”

For team leader Kathy Palfrey, 54, the closure was ‘the end of an era’ as she would have marked 33 years with Arcadia on February 15.

She began her career at Debenhams, in Bury, when it was part of the group and joined Topshop, in Cornhill, before it moved to the arc.

We’re all gutted. Deep down we thought it would have been saved because we’re an iconic brand. It’s an end of an era - Tom Dines

Asked why she stayed for more than three decades with Arcadia, Mrs Palfrey said: “It’s the staff really. We came over from our old store with 65 staff and now we’re down to nine.

“I’m really sad. I never thought this was going to come. It was a total total shock to me. You see other stores going but I thought it would never happen because it was so popular.”

Mrs Palfrey said she had ‘no idea’ what she would do next but didn’t think it would be retail because it ‘has changed so much’.

Team leader Jenna Williams, 35, has worked for 15 years for the company with five at the old Topshop before she took a five year break to have a child and has been at the arc shop for 10 years.

She said: “I’m heartbroken because it’s an iconic brand. We’re just such a family. If you’re having a rough time, they support you through everything.”

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