Gateway closes remaining UK stores

The PC giant closed all its stores in the UK last night as the shutters came down across its operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

Gateway Computers, the US-based PC manufacturer that came across the Atlantic in 1991, last night closed all its stores throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

A Gateway spokesperson said it is no longer possible to buy computers from Gateway in the UK, but that the company will honour its warranties for existing customers. "We have a network of outsourced partners who provide support and will continue to work with them," she said. Gateway said it would withdraw fully from the UK by 31 December, the end of its fourth fiscal quarter.

Gateway notified employees a month ago that it was considering closing its manufacturing plant in Dublin as well as its sales, service and marketing operations throughout Britain and Ireland. The closure comes at just over the 30-day legal mininum period that had to follow the original notification.

The closure follows a consultative process with unions and other employee representatives in the UK and Ireland. In a statement Martin Coles, Gateway's senior vice president of Gateway International, said, "Given the current market conditions and macroeconomic environment, we must make such difficult changes to ensure future growth and profitability for the entire company."

France, where the employee consultation period is still continuing due to tougher legal protection for workers, appeared to be the only European country to avoid the immediate closure.

The closure, which was first announced last month, is part of a cost-saving measure that will see the company lay off up to 4,600 workers -- 25 percent of its worldwide workforce. The 1,085 workers in Britain and Ireland form roughly 5 percent of the company's total workforce of 20,000. Gateway's company-owned operations in Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, Australia and New Zealand closed on 29 August.

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