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Robert Dyas HQ may move out of Leatherhead

Dragons Den entrepreneur Theo Paphitis, chairman of Robert Dyas, has announced it may move its headquarters out of Leatherhead.

He made the shock revelation at a conference in Wimbledon on Tuesday, before the 100 staff at its HQ in Cleeve Court, Cleeve Road, had been informed.

Mr Paphitis said the HQ could move to Wimbledon, but a company spokesman said yesterday they are still looking at different locations and have not ruled out keeping the headquarters in Leatherhead.

He said: "We are potentially moving to Wimbledon. Theo is favourable to Wimbledon and thinking about what the logistics would be but nothing has been absolutely confirmed."

Mr Paphitis, who is also chairman of Ryman stationery and founded lingerie brand Boux Avenue, has his retail group office in Wimbledon.

Jackie Quinn, president of the Leatherhead and District Chamber of Commerce, said: "To lose a reputable company from the area would be a great shame.

"It would be disappointing if they do move from Leatherhead because I really believe there is no better location for a head office."

She said Leatherhead’s proximity to the M25, Gatwick and Heathrow had drawn big companies into the town.

Mole Valley District Councillor Dave Howarth, who represents Leatherhead North, said: "That’s really disappointing news.

"Leatherhead has got a really good reputation in the last couple of years for having many company headquarters.

"I don’t think one company leaving reduces that at all, but it’s disappointing."

Coun Howarth said KBR, Unilever, Leatherhead Food Research, ExxonMobil and other companies were located in Leatherhead. He said: "Every day as many people commute into Leatherhead as leave to work elsewhere. It’s great."

Richard Keel, deputy manager of the Swan Shopping Centre and chamber of commerce director, said: "Any business leaving the town is not a good thing for Leatherhead.

"But there will be a reason why they are considering this. We wish them all the best in the future."

Source : Alice Foster - Your Local Guardian

20 September 2013

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