NEWS that Fultons has gone into administration has been described as a ‘blow to Lurgan’ as staff face an uncertain future.
The retailer based in Queen Street, which also has a 60,000 square foot showroom on the Boucher Road in Belfast, went into administration at the end of last week.
Fultons Fine Furnishings, which began trading in Lurgan 50 years ago, is the latest locally-owned store to hit financial difficulties during the recession.
Administrators PwC were appointed at the owners’ request while the company’s shops remain open and continuing to trade.
The company had expanded over the years since its beginnings in Lurgan to include a number of retail and property interests.
The move puts a total of 57 jobs at risk, but administrators PwC in Belfast have pledged to continue trading before deciding whether to sell the business or liquidate it.
Stephen Cave and Paul Rooney, from PwC, are acting as administrators and said their immediate priority is to communicate with employees, customers, suppliers and tenants.
Mr Cave said: “Once the immediate assessment of the trading and financial position is complete, we will have a clearer picture of future options.
“Our immediate priority is to communicate with the key stakeholders of the business, including employees, customers, suppliers and tenants.”
Upper Bann Ulster Unionist MLA Jo-Anne Dobson said: “The company has long-standing roots in Lurgan and has been an integral part of my constituency for many years.
“This will be a difficult time for the staff and their families and I hope that the company can overcome its present difficulties and continue to play a major role in the local furniture retail market for many years to come.
“Our rural towns must retain their unique identities.
“Companies such as Fultons which are locally owned and managed make up a key part of the fabric of towns and support from local communities is all the more important in the present difficult economic climate.”
Mayor of Craigavon Councillor Carla Lockhart said: “This is a further blow to Lurgan and its economic recovery.
“Just as you think things are starting to level out you hear the awful news of Fultons, a highly regarded and long serving business in the town going into administration.”
“As mayor for the borough this is not news that I or council wants to hear. Fultons has been operational in Lurgan for 50 years, it has provided many jobs and has been a quality fine furnishing retailer and one that was known provincewide.”
Party colleague Stephen Moutray added: “Fultons has been one of our most recognisable retailers and has provided employment for local people and made an immense contribution to our local retail economy.
“The retail sector and our town centres have been under severe pressure in recent times.
“As one who is well aware of these difficulties I will continue to work with all bodies concerned to ease the burden placed upon retailers at this time.”