Johnson to shut over a fifth of dry-cleaning outlets this year

Kasmira Jefford
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BRITAIN’S largest dry-cleaning chain said it plans to shut around 100 loss-making stores by the end of the year as it becomes the latest casualty on the high street.

Johnson Services Group said the move would leave it with 460 stores and affect several hundred back office and warehousing staff. It did not specify how many jobs would be lost or the location of the stores that will close.

The company said the shops earmarked for closure suffered a 4.3 per cent fall in like-for-like sales in 2011, while the continuing shops like-for-like sales rose 0.3 per cent in the same period.

The move is part of a £24m restructuring programme to help increase profitability across its dry-cleaning arm, which has been hit by tough economic conditions and the continued squeeze in consumers’ disposable income.

Johnson has already closed more than 50 outlets in recent years.

The company also supplies workwear rentals, linen rental for hotels catering and corporate hospitality.

Executive chairman John Talbot said these divisions continued to trade well.