A POPULAR indoor market which has stood at the heart of the Erdington community for decades has been saved from closure following the collapse of its parent company.
Erdington’s InShops, known locally as Wilton Market, was dealt the devastating blow that it faced the axe when InShops Centres Limited ceased trading earlier this month.
But market stallholders – many of whom have been based there for decades – have been thrown a lifeline after landlords Marcus King and Co stepped in to take over the lease, securing its future.
Liverpool-based InShops Centres Limited – which operated a network of 21 indoor shopping centres and market halls nationwide – ceased trading on January 17 after experiencing “significant losses” as a result of declining occupancy levels and rising costs.
Subsequently, liquidators KPMG were appointed and stallholders given just days to vacate while they worked to safeguard the future operation of as many outlets as possible.
Paul Flint, associate partner at KPMG and joint liquidator, said: “A combination of rising costs and steadily declining income over a number of years meant InShops was increasingly unable to meet its rent obligations. This ultimately led the directors to take the decision to cease trading and appoint KPMG as liquidators.
“We are pleased to have been able to work with the company to strike deals with some landlords prior to the company entering into liquidation, ensuring that hundreds of retailers can continue to trade and safeguarding many more jobs.”
Terry Guest, BID manager for the Erdington Town Centre Partnership, said nearly 20 traders worked on the existing market, which had been open for more than 30 years.
He said closing down the site would have been “a tragedy”.
“The message is now that it is very much business as usual,” he said.
“It’s good news for the high street and the local community. It attracts a lot of business and it does seem to be thriving.
“A market put something back into the high street; it is a core of local businesses that very often provide services which you cannot find elsewhere.”
Sonia Sheldon, market manageress, said improvements to its appearance and lighting were among the changes which customers could look forward to seeing in the future.
What do readers think? Do you use Wilton Market? Write to: Letters to the Editor, Sutton Coldfield Observer Newsdesk, CIN, Ventura Park Road, Tamworth, Staffs, B78 3LZ or email email@example.com