THE Coleraine branch of Peacocks closed last Wednesday despite Edinburgh Woollen Mill buying the company out of administration.

It’s another blow to the retail base in the town centre which is already under massive pressure with the recession.

It’s believed around 13 people - both full and part-time staff - have lost their jobs in the Coleraine town centre branch.

Cruelly, staff at the Church Street store received a normal stock delivery on Wednesday morning only to be told a few hours later that they were out of a job.

One member of staff from the Coleraine branch, who did not want to be named, told the Times: “The first we knew about any closure was when the administrators arrived in the store on Wednesday. We had been given an update on Wednesday morning about what would happen if the company was sold and if you weren’t part of the sale.

“The next information we got was when KPMG arrived in the store and told the managers that the store had to close as we weren’t part of the sale. “Everybody was just in shock. There were still people at home who had just heard on the news that the company had been bought over and then they got a phone call to tell them they were out of a job. Everybody got a call from the representatives of the administrators and were told they were being made redundant immediately.

“Since Peacocks went into administration all our customers had been asking for updates and saying there was no way they would close the Coleraine branch as it always seemed so busy.

“I think the customers were as shocked as we were.

“The whole staff were holding on to the hope that it wouldn’t come to this. It has definitely come as a huge shock.”

Edinburgh Woollen Mill has acquired 338 stores, 57 concessions, three distribution centres and Peacocks head office in Cardiff.

Although the deal means around 6,000 jobs are saved, 3,100 workers have been made redundant as administrators KPMG closed a further 224 Peacocks stores immediately - including the ones in Coleraine and Ballymoney.

Other stores to have closed are in Bangor, Craigavon, Carrickfergus, Antrim, Banbridge, Ballynahinch, Ballyclare, Magherafelt, Lisburn, Ballymena, Portadown, Londonderry, Cookstown and Bloomfield in Bangor. The three Belfast branches to close are in the Park Centre, Cityside and its flagship branch at Donegall Place in the city centre.