Northern Ireland

Derry department store Austins sold out of receivership

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Media captionAustins will continue trading with the retention of 55 jobs

Fifty-five jobs have been saved following the sale of Austins, the Londonderry department store.

The firm which owned it, Austin & Co, was placed into administrative receivership last Wednesday.

The receiver has now sold the trading side of the business and the store will continue operating as normal.

The building, which has a prominent position on the Diamond, is now for sale.

Austins had been under pressure for some time, posting significant losses in 2011 and 2012.

The business was facing a winding-up petition later this month which could have lead to it being liquidated.

The Austins directors worked consensually with their bank, AIB, and the receiver to prevent that.

It is not clear exactly who now has control of the trading business though it is understood not to be the previous directors, Luke and Declan Hasson.

The receiver, Seamas Keating of PKF-FPM accountants, said "the administrative receivership has resulted in the sale of the trading operation of the company to a new operator.

"The administration receiver is continuing to realise company assets. "

The business began in 1830 when Thomas Austin came to Derry opening a drapery shop in the corner of the Diamond.