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Shop Direct closes in Newtown

Created on 28/01/2011 @ 08:54
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Home shopping firm Shop Direct is closing its call centre in Newtown today with the loss of 180 jobs, marking the end of an era for mail order in the town.

Shop Direct is shutting its office in a building which once housed the world's first mail order business.

The call centre is based at the former headquarters of a company started by Pryce Jones in the 19th Century.

Shop Direct said more people were choosing to shop online rather than place orders over the phone.

The company, and its predecessor Great Universal Stores, has been a major employer in Newtown for more than 35 years, but there has also been a continuous link with mail order since the mid-1800s.

Shop Direct's call centre is based at Sir Pryce Jones' Royal Welsh Warehouse in the town, a tall, listed redbrick building built near the railway station in 1879.

 "I am very disappointed. It's one of our major employers in Newtown and it will be a great loss to the area," she said.

"Newtown was the birthplace of the mail order industry and now the modern-day version is moving away, breaking an historic link."

Shop Direct had proposed closing in Newtown last June, but it reconsidered after talks with a union and the former Montgomeryshire MP, Lembit Opik.

Glyn Davies MP, said: "It's a huge blow in a relatively rural area and a town of 10,000 people which Newtown is. It's going to have a big economic impact.

"The jobs had flexible hours and were good for mothers to fit in with their parental responsibilities - that was a huge plus, not all businesses can do that."

Russell George, County Councillor for the Newtown Central ward said:“This is a large number of jobs to lose in a town like Newtown and will have a serious affect on the lifestyles of those affected and their families. The loss of jobs will also have a major impact on the local economy”

“Its disappointing to see this business withdraw from Newtown which is where historically the mail order business began”

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