Shutters come down on Shop

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The Independent Online

Granada and Littlewoods are to close Shop!, their home shopping channel, with the loss of 390 jobs. The two companies said the channel had failed to meet expectations.

Shop! was launched in 1998 and filmed at Granada's studios in Liverpool's Albert Dock. It was 65 per cent owned by Littlewoods with 35 per cent held by Granada. It will close in April with the loss of 140 jobs at Granada and 250 at Littlewoods, including 169 at the channels' call centre in Preston.

Susan Murray, the chairman of Shop!, said: "Recent changes in Littlewoods' senior management have led to a renewed focus on the core business and new channels such as e-commerce, which can provide sustainable income and profit growth. Our review has concluded that Shop! will not meet its shareholders' expectations."

Littlewoods and Granada declined to say how much they had invested in Shop! or what the losses for the past year had been. They also declined to give any viewing figures.

The decision is the latest in a series of retreats from niche digital television channels by media and retail groups. Carlton and J Sainsbury unwound their Taste Network joint venture last August. Boots and Granada have also scaled back their Wellbeing health and beauty channel.