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Guardian report on closure



WALTHAMSTOW: Major job losses as wholesaler closes

By Sarah Cosgrove - 2:35pm Thursday 31st July 2008

A COMPANY has closed down after more than 50 years, leaving an estimated 200 employees out of work.

Employees of CD and DVD distributor S Gold and Sons on Uplands Business Estate were told they were to be made redundant at 3pm on Friday, with immediate effect.

They were sent home and are waiting to find out if their pensions are safe, and were told their redundancy packages were in the hands of the Government.

Auditors have been at the Blackhorse Lane, Walthamstow, site this week. Only a handful of staff members remain, helping the auditors do their job.

The telephone remains unanswered and the website is “closed for maintenance”.

An employee of ten years, who wanted to remain nameless, said: “People just don’t know what to do. When they told us, there was one woman who just went hysterical.”

The warehouse worker said that employees had suspected something was wrong as work has fallen to almost nothing over the past few months, while managers remained tight-lipped.

“I’m disgusted with them. I really think they should have kept us in the loop,” she said. “Some people have been there 20 or 30 years, there are one-parent families, there are people who are being treated by the private health insurance we got with the job.

“We were told they did they did their best to sell the business but they just weren’t able to do it.”

S Gold and Sons, or Golds as it became known, was a family business and wholesaler of CDs, DVDs, videos, computer games and other home entertainment products.

The company exported to 96 countries, accounting for 25 per cent of the company’s annual turnover by the time it closed.

It was established in 1955 at Sidney Gold’s delicatessen store in Ilford. Mr Gold encouraged his sons Barrie and Sidney to work for their pocket money and so the two started selling records from racks outside the shop.

Sales went so well, they took a stall in Petticoat Lane and later ditched retail for wholesale.

In 1979 they embraced video and took on a 30,000 square foot warehouse in Leyton. They moved to the 75,000 sq ft warehouse and 33,000 sq ft office space in Blackhorse Lane site in 2001.

The closure may have a knock-on effect. Staff at Eddie’s cafe and lunch bar opposite said their business had dropped right down since the closure was announced.