Family-run Portsmouth dry cleaners announces it will close its doors this weekend

A LONG-established chain of dry cleaners in the south is set to close – with the loss of 63 jobs – unless a buyer can be found.

Tuesday, 10th December 2019, 4:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 10th December 2019, 6:09 pm

Solent Cleaners has announced it is set to close its 10 stores throughout Hampshire, Surrey and West Sussex, including the main laundry site in Farlington and head office in Havant.

It has recently suffered financial difficulties as a result of the long-term decline in the consumer requirement for dry cleaning of wool fibre and structured garments such as suits, as man-made washable clothes become more popular.

Director Paul Durham, who is the grandchild of the founder, said: ‘Increased employee costs, rents, rates, and spiralling energy costs have reduced profit margins on a declining turnover. We have tried to find alternative revenue streams, such as laundry and ironing services, and reduced overheads where possible but it has not been enough. We have supported the company through personal funds but do not have the resources to continue.’

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Solent Cleaners old base on Havant Road. Picture: Malcolm Wells (142249-4675)

Over the weekend staff told customers it would no longer be taking on new work and a plan has been implemented to contact customers to arrange for them to collect completed clothing items.

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Customers with uncollected items are being urged to collect these as soon as possible as the shops are likely to close for the last time on Saturday evening.

Paul said: ‘In conjunction with our agents we are actively seeking interested parties to take over some or all of the outlets and we have already received a considerable amount of interest over the last few days. We are hoping that something can be salvaged although regrettably it is highly likely that the company will go into liquidation and we have informed our staff accordingly. We are devastated for the staff, a number of whom have been with us for over 30 years, and would like to thank them for their support at this extremely difficult time.’

The business, which now employs 63 staff, originally began operating in Hampshire in the 1960s and has always been owned by generations of the Durham family although the present company was formed in 1987.

Whiteley based insolvency experts Portland Business Recovery are assisting the directors regarding the liquidation of the company.