05 July 2012 10:46
The UK's largest dry cleaning chain, Johnson Service Group, is to axe over a fifth of its stores this year, in a move that will trigger hundreds of job losses.
The group said it will close 100 of its 460 Johnson Cleaners stores as part of a restructuring that will cost the company almost £24 million.
The group said a typical store has one full-time and two part-time employees, while there will also be cut-backs in back office and warehousing staff, suggesting that at least 300 jobs will go in total by the end of 2012, according to the Press Association.
Johnson has already closed more than 50 outlets in recent years as tough conditions on the high street continue.
The Cheshire-based group did not reveal the locations of the 100 loss-making stores earmarked for closure but they are understood to be mainly outside London and southeast England.
Executive chairman John Talbot said: "We believe that the measures we have taken will refocus the group into a more streamlined and profitable business.
"We have confidence that our continuing dry cleaning estate will not only be able to withstand the current retail environment but make a telling contribution to the group's future performance."
In recent months, it has tried new initiatives such as offering laundry, repairs, tailoring and Ugg boot cleaning at some of its stores in a bid to revitalise sales.