Bye bye Bodgers: Final curtain comes down on historic shop

Bodgers department store in Ilford.

Bodgers department store in Ilford. - Credit: Ceidog Communications

The historic department store Bodgers will close at the end of February 2018, it has been confirmed.

Bodgers, Station Road, Ilford, has been serving the people of Redbridge since 1959.

The shop’s owner, The Morleys Stores Group, said they reached the “painful decicion” after an extensive 30 day consultation with 70 staff members.

“The wellbeing of the staff is now our utmost priority and we are working hard to find the best possible option for each and every one of them,” said managing director David Hordle.

“They have shown an admirable commitment in trying to reverse the decline but unfortunately the losses we incurred there were not sustainable in the long term.

“The painful decision to close Bodgers was in no way a reflection on the wonderful team we have in Ilford.”

The closure will bring the curtain down on 125 years of trading at one of London’s oldest department stores.

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The Morleys Stores Group, which has eight other stores in London and the south east, is hoping to redeploy a number of the Bodgers staff to its other shops.

Mr Hordle stressed the rest of the Morleys Group was not affected by the unique circumstances which led to the demise of Bodgers.

“We have done our best to serve the community in Ilford since taking over Bodgers in 1959,” he said

“Unfortunately, the challenging trading environment showed no sign of improving and customers continued to drift away, particularly to Westfield in Stratford, and that made it impossible for us to find a successful trading format.

“We realise this is a very difficult time for the staff and their families and we are doing everything in our power to ensure the best possible outcome for them under the circumstances.”

The store first opened its doors on June 14 in 1890 after the original premises were taken over by John Bodger and his wife.

The business flourished after it was bought by the Morleys Stores Group in 1959 and continued to do so for many years.

“We would also like to thank our customers for their valuable support over the years.” he said.