Bombed bookshop staff lose their jobs

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The Independent Online
Twenty-eight people have lost their jobs as a result of the IRA bomb in Manchester, writes Graham Ball.

Staff at Waterstone's bookshop in St Ann's Square, close to the blast, were told on Friday that they are to be made redundant.

The shop's parent company WH Smith Retail has decided to close Waterstone's to make way for a branch of WH Smith, whose Arndale Centre premises remain closed due to the bomb.

The area inside the Arndale complex where WH Smith was located was one of the worst affected by the blast and engineers estimate it could take over a year to refurbish their premises.

Waterstone's staff were shocked and bitterly disappointed at the news. "People here were very upset, especially in the light of the efforts they'd made to get the shop back on its feet," said one angry shop worker. "Staff offered to work for no pay to clear up the mess. We were offered counselling but everyone just got on with it."

The closure coincides with this year's centenary of bookselling in St Ann's Square. Before being taken over by the Waterstone's chain the shop had been famous throughout the North-west as the home of the Sherratt and Hughes bookshop.

But Manchester itself was showing signs of a remarkable revival. Yesterday, just seven weeks after the bomb, 50 shops reopened, bringing the total to 100.