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Confusion over future of high street dry cleaners

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Latest news from the Suffolk Free Press, suffolkfreepress.co.uk, @sfpsudbury on Twitter

A dry cleaners in Sudbury is set to stay open despite a new drop-off point being opened by the same company in a nearby supermarket.

There were fears that Johnson Cleaners on Market Hill would close after the company announced it was to shut a third of its stores across the country.

And despite a new drop-off point being launched in Waitrose in the town, any possible closure was denied this week by the store’s regional manager.

“There are no plans for this one to close,” said Linda Jackson, regional training manager for Johnson Cleaners. “It’s just business as usual.”

She said the fact that a new drop-off point had opened nearby would not affect the store.

A spokeswoman for the store’s parent company, however, said it was “pretty possible” that the store would shut as a direct result of the new service offered at the supermarket.

She said no final decision had been made on any of the chain’s stores as a consultation was still ongoing.

Johnson Service Group plans to close 109 of its 307 Johnson Cleaners branches in the next year in a move that is set to impact hundreds of jobs.

It is moving away from traditional high street locations towards collection and delivery points.

The new points will offer services including garment cleaning and pressing, duvet and curtain cleaning and suede and leather care.

In total, the new drop-off points will be available in 124 Waitrose stores across the country.

The company is also planning to launch an online home collection and delivery service for higher-value or bulky items.

The majority of stores set for closure have leases expiring within the next two years, with renewal not seen as financially viable.

The spokeswoman added: “We are commencing a consultation exercise with affected employees and anticipate that branches will close during the first half of the year.

“The remaining 198 better-performing premium branches are in more convenient locations.”

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