SEVERAL members of staff at York’s Mulberry Hall are set to lose their jobs in the wake of “difficult” Christmas and New Year trading.

Adam Sinclair, boss of the Stonegate-based fine china & crystal specialists, said it was consulting on proposals to make redundant and lay off about ten per cent of the workforce.

He said the move was being taken to safeguard the medium and long-term future of the business, which had been hit by a series of problems culminating in difficult trading conditions over the important Christmas and New Year period.

These included the recession, which was hitting spending on luxury items, and the growth in online spending at the expense of high street retail businesses.

Because of its setting in an historic building, Mulberry Hall also faced particularly big increases in costs including buildings maintenance, lighting and heating, and rent and business rates, as well as additional increases in National Insurance.

Other factors included the cost of parking for shoppers using the city centre, compared with the free parking enjoyed by motorists at out-of-town shopping centres.

“We need a change in mindset in York about issues such as parking charges,” he said, although he admitted there was little chance of fees being scrapped altogether.

He said the redundancy decision had been very difficult, as many of the employees affected had worked for Mulberry Hall for many years.