Anger from staff as firm goes bust

Headquarters of The Discovery Store on Barry's Lane, Scarborough. 120624.
Headquarters of The Discovery Store on Barry's Lane, Scarborough. 120624.

FORMER employees of Scarborough-based retailer The Discovery Store have spoken of their anger after the company went into administration.

Shops across the UK, including one in The Brunswick Centre, shut suddenly last month. On its website, the company says it operates more than 20 outlets.

Staff have said they were given only days as a notice period and are owed weeks worth of unpaid wages.

Kevin Crum, who worked as a supervisor, claims he is owed almost £600.

He said: “There was no indication that this was coming. I just got a phone call from my manager on my day off to say the store was closing down. Seven days later I was out of a job.

“People are really angry about it. No-one got any real notice. The money I’m owed was going to pay my rent. I’m worried that I’ll end up losing my home.”

Driffield-based company Redman Nichols Butler have been appointed administrators of the firm, which sells items including novelty gifts, soft toys and gadgets.

The administrators have refused to release any information on the scale of the firm’s debts, but have written to former staff members and provided forms so that they can enter claims for unpaid wages.

The Evening News has learned that The Discovery Store owes £50,000 in unpaid business rates to Exeter City Council, and a further sum to Scarborough Borough Council.

There was activity at The Discovery Store’s headquarters and warehouse in Barrys Lane yesterday, but we were told that no-one was available to comment when we visited the premises.

On the Companies House website, it is stated that The Discovery Store Limited went into administration on January 27, but the company’s registered location is given as York.

Two companies listed as separate entries, The Discovery Store 4 Limited and The Discovery Store 7 Limited, are listed as active and trading from Barrys Lane in Scarborough.

Another company, Discovery Online Ltd, is also listed as active and operating from the address.

Heather Timson, who worked as an assistant manager for the chain, said she is owed approximately £600 plus unused holiday pay.

She said: “It isn’t just the shop workers that have been affected, it’s the warehouse staff, the suppliers, everyone. My nan has had to lend me money. I’m lucky I’ve got someone to do that but some people don’t.”

Daniel Sobey-Harker, from Scarborough, who worked at the company’s head office as an online marketing executive before leaving the post last June, said he had not been surprised to hear of the company’s demise.

He said: “They were having problems before I left and were not addressing them. There were a lot of bills that had to be paid and they didn’t get on it.”