Tears and anger as BHS staff told store will close at the end of July

They knew it was coming, but it still brought tears and anger from staff at the stricken BHS store as managers confirmed the Kirkcaldy outlet is to close at the end of the month.

Wednesday, 20th July 2016, 9:49 pm
Updated Wednesday, 20th July 2016, 10:52 pm
The store will close on July 31. Pic: FPA.

For the 30 remaining staff, there had been the hope that the store would continue trading at least until August, allowing for time to find alternative employment.

But the High Street store, which has been trading since 1964, will close its doors for the very final time at 4pm on Sunday, July 31.

Staff gathered on Tuesday morning to be told the news that the Kirkcaldy outlet was to be included in the next round of 30 shop closures, drawing to a close 52 years of trading in the Lang Toun.

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And the announcement brought all of the emotion and anger to the surface for many of the employees who have remained loyal to the doomed retailer.

“We have known we will be closing for some time but the announcement certainly still came as a shock to many,” one member of the management team, who asked not to be identified, told the Press.

“There are a good few who have over 20 years service and dedication to the company who feel let down, many also have company pensions and fear they have lost everything, it’s very sad.

“It’s now very real, the 30 staff still employed here now have just over a week to find jobs elsewhere.

“It’s a devastating blow, not just to the employees, but also the town, the closure will impact on many lives.”

While support has been offered to staff members, many of whom will find themselves without a job for the first time in their working lives come the end of the month, the Press understands just five have managed to secure alternative employment so far.

Staff have been supported by Skills Development Scotland and other agencies who have advised employees on a number of job search skills to help them find new jobs.

It is a far cry from the halcyon days of the Fife town, which was chosen ahead of Edinburgh and Glasgow as the location for the first branch of British Home Stores, back in 1964.

With a pension black hole of £571 million and the sale of BHS for a £1 by the company’s former owner, tycoon Phillip Green, continuing to be investigated by a government select committee, staff fear there will be little or no financial remuneration come closing day.

“What chance have the staff got in all of this?” asked the employee.

“There are a lot of upset and angry people who have been loyal and committed throughout all of this turmoil.”

It is hoped a new business can be found to take on the prominent High Street location, but none have shown interest to date.