East Anglian retailer Godfrey’s to downsize its Norwich branch

06:30 28 December 2012

The Godfrey DIY store in Norwich.

The Godfrey DIY store in Norwich. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Archant Norfolk

A well-known independent DIY and furniture retailer is to downsize its Norwich branch to “secure the long-term future of the business.”

The shake-up at family-run Godfrey DIY could lead to up to 20 job loses at its Norwich base.

The company - which also has stores in Diss and Stowmarket - has been trading from its Riverside Road site in Norwich since the company first started in April 1983.

But the Norwich store is currently holding a massive clearance sale as part of preparations to scale down its business in the city.

Managing director Barry Godfrey said the company had needed to react to trading challenges and changing consumer trends and, as a result, in the new year Godfrey’s 15,000 sq. ft. DIY and furniture store in Norwich will be replaced with a Godfrey’s furniture store of about 2,000 sq. ft., and the remainder of the site is planned to be let to other retailers.

The head office will continue to be based in Norwich.

About 26 people are currently employed by Godfrey DIY in Norwich, and Mr Godfrey confirmed a formal redundancy consultation was now taking place. He said the final number of redundancies was yet to be confirmed but that it was possible that, of the 26 positions in Norwich, only six would remain.

There are also expected to be redundancies at the Diss and Stowmarket stores, which will continue to sell both DIY supplies and furniture but will be run with fewer staff. Godfrey DIY currently employs 14 in Diss and 11 in Stowmarket, and Mr Godfrey said up to half of these staff could affected.

Mr Godfrey said: “It is a sad time for everybody who is affected by this. Personally I feel very sad we have had to make this decision but we have had to look to how we can adapt the business. These are challenging times and we very much want to continue to be part of the retail scene in East Anglia and to do that we need to adapt.”

He added: “It’s no secret that our sector in particular has been hit hard. Ongoing economic uncertainty, restricted mortgage lending for first-time buyers and poor weather have had a significant impact on sales. Clearly we must adapt our stores and explore new opportunities.”

He said the slow housing market at the moment was a key reason the business had been put under pressure.

“When there is a buoyant housing market, when people move house, they usually make improvements to their old house to help sell it and then make improvements to their new house,” he said.

“But without a buoyant housing market it has cut the potential for DIY sales.”

He said Norwich had “felt the squeeze” more than the other two stores because there was greater competition from big retailers in the city.

But Mr Godfrey said the business was committed to continuing to be part of the region’s retail scene.

He said: “We’ve survived challenging times before and have every intention of doing so again. Right now, it’s important to take the steps necessary to secure the long-term future of the business.”

• Do you have a story about Norwich’s retail scene? Call reporter Emma Knights on 01603 772428 or email


  • De-industrialisation along with globalisation and the outsourcing agenda, has left Blighty dependent on 79% of its workforce relying on the service industries to tick along . Some hold the belief that the service economy can be compared to a dog fallen into a swimming pool, at first the dog seems fine paddling away in different directions trying to find its way out of the pool. Eventually the dog tires and begins to struggle and panic, the more it panics the less strength it has to stay afloat, after awhile the dog starts to sink, bobbing and finely disappears, leaving behind a few ripple effects.

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    Friday, December 28, 2012

  • Good luck Mr Godfrey and staff.. I do hope you can swim in an already saturated furniture and soft furnishings market. My friends and I have used your DIY supplies for many years and have found you to be good competition for the big DIY chains. It's a sad day for the independent stores.

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    paul marris

    Friday, December 28, 2012

  • Whiley b, I wish you was right...The snap-shot of three main drivers of growth and prosperity pre 2008, international financial services, home ownership and retail are all flatlining.

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    Friday, December 28, 2012

  • Many an hour spent in this store. Best of luck to all those who are impacted. nrg, your analagy is flawed at best.

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    Whiley Boy

    Friday, December 28, 2012

  • Apologies, analogy.

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    Whiley Boy

    Friday, December 28, 2012

  • I used to shop at Godfreys in Diss when we lived in the area and recently visited the Stowmarket branch. Many of the shelves at Stowmarket were empty and the place had a look of somewhere that is closing down. I must say that I was often disappointed by the quality of goods when I used the Diss branch and eventually stopped going there, perhaps this has something to do with their problems.

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    Friday, December 28, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site


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