Iconic Liverpool retailer TJ Hughes has moved its flagship store to Church Street in the last few days and the business will be hoping to return to profit after reporting an annual loss. Tony McDonough reports
Liverpool retailer TJ Hughes heralded the dawn of a new era this week when it relocated its flagship city centre store after being in London Road for more than a century.
In February this year councillors on Liverpool City Council’s city’s planning committee gave the go-ahead for the conversion of TJ’s historic home, Audley House in London Road, into 199 apartments. It had been trading in the building since 1912.
In August LBN reported the business would be relocating the store to 12-15 Church Street, Liverpool’s premier shopping street.This was formerly occupied by fashion retailer H&M and sits within a 70,000 sq ft building.
This move comes just after the business filed its annual accounts on Companies House. TJs is run by a company called LHR Holding which in turn is owned by another company, Vision International Group.
Directors for both businesses are Anil Juneja and Kuldeep Singh. Mr Juneja was credited with saving the business when it collapsed into administration in 2011. At that point it was a national chain trading from 57 locations.
He swooped in to prevent the famous name disappearing for good. Sourcing products from the Far East, Mr Juneja relaunched the business from just six outlets. He has since grown this to 14, mainly in the North West of England. It also trades online.
Mr Juneja said of the move to Church Street: “This represents an important move for us. It’s a very well-located site that’s convenient for the majority of shoppers, so it’s good for the city and good for the brand.
“And importantly, of course, it keeps our flagship store in Liverpool, which is where the whole TJ Hughes story began.”
Financial results for LHR Holding and Vision International Group are almost identical. The parent group revealed revenues of £27.7m for the 12 months to December 31, 2022. This was a big jump from the £16.2m generated in 2021.
However, after reporting a small profit of almost £125,000 in 2021, the business reported a loss for 2022 of almost £350,000. It also saw employee numbers fall from 483 in 2021 to 403 in 2022.
According to the report, the business operates two divisions – TJ Hughes and Leading Brands 4U, a consumer private label.
Through another company, Lewis’s Home Retail, Mr Juneja and Mr Singh, along with five other directors, control another famous Liverpool retail brand.
Lewis’s department store first opened in 1856 and its flagship store was located on the corner of Ranelagh Street in Liverpool city centre and was adorned with the celebrated nude statue above its main entrance.
Called Liverpool Resurgent by artist Jacob Epstein, the statue was nicknamed ‘Dickie Lewis’ by locals and is celebrated in the song In My Liverpool Home with the line… ‘meet under a statue exceedingly bare’.
Although the Lewis’s store itself eventually closed in 2010 following a long battle for survival, the brand lives on in TJ Hughes as Brand Lewis’s and features a range of kitchen and homeware products.