Bye Bye Bodgers: Ilford’s oldest department store set to close

PUBLISHED: 11:49 27 July 2017 | UPDATED: 12:14 28 July 2017

Bodgers department store in Ilford.

Bodgers department store in Ilford.

Ceidog Communications

After 125 years in business, one of Redbridge’s oldest established department stores is set to close its doors.

Historic images of the Bodgers store.Historic images of the Bodgers store.

The department store, synonymous with Ilford, opened in 1890 by John Bodgers, originally as a drapers at 113 High Road – now home to Poundland.

The 70 members of staff were told of the closure at a meeting at 9.30am this morning.

It is intended that the store will cease trading in February next year.

The business was bought by the Morleys Stores Group in 1959 and the company have said that it will now enter into consultation with the staff and those that represent them.

Historic images of the Bodgers store.Historic images of the Bodgers store.

Managing director David Hordle said “We have done everything we can over the last few years to improve profitability, including significantly reducing our cost base nevertheless we have been unable to reverse the decline, resulting in losses which are not sustainable in the long term.”

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

Morleys Stores Group have nine stores in London and the South East, and a number of the Bodgers staff are expected to be transferred to other stores.

Executive chairman Bernard Dreesmann said: “This has been an exceptionally difficult decision as we have been serving the Ilford community since 1959 however the continued challenging trading environment and a drift of customers in particular to Westfield in Stratford has made it impossible for us to find a successful trading format.

Historic images of the Bodgers store. Picture: Ceidog CommunicationsHistoric images of the Bodgers store. Picture: Ceidog Communications

“Our foremost priority now is looking after our employees and our customers.

“I must emphasise that this plan is in no way any reflection on the commitment of the staff at Bodgers.

“Our focus will now be to ensure every member of staff is supported through the consultation so we can ensure we can help them find the best option for them.”

Mr Dreesmann said the rest of the Morleys Group would be unaffected by the unique circumstances affecting Bodgers.

He added: “However, our thoughts today are with the people affected by the announcement in Ilford and our pledge is to do our very best on their behalf.”

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