Waitrose will close four supermarkets with loss of 124 jobs – but one will reopen as a Tesco in 2021

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Waitrose will close four supermarkets with loss of 124 jobs – but one store will reopen as a Tesco in 2021

  • 124 jobs will go as part of the supermarkets shake-up in December this year  
  • Caldicot, Ipswich Corn Exchange and Shrewsbury Waitroses will close
  • But Wolverhampton store will be sold – to top supermarket rival Tesco
  •  Executive director Berangere Michel said closures were the ‘last resort’
  •  Have you been affected by the closures? Email: [email protected]

Waitrose has revealed plans to close four of its supermarkets, with the loss of 124 jobs – but one will be reborn as a Tesco.

The grocery chain said it will shut its Caldicot, Ipswich Corn Exchange and Shrewsbury sites, and sell its Wolverhampton store to rival Tesco.

It said it made the decision to shut the branches after it struggled to make them ‘profitable in the long-term’ after a period of ‘challenging trading’.

The Caldicot, Ipswich and Shrewsbury stores will close on December 6.

Three Waitrose stores will be shut while one will be sold on, together with staff, to Tesco

Three Waitrose stores will be shut while one will be sold on, together with staff, to Tesco

Waitrose said 124 staff at the three stores will face redundancy and will now enter into consultations.

Meanwhile, all 140 staff at the Wolverhampton store, which will shut on December 31, will be transferred to Tesco as part of the sale.

The announcement comes a day before parent firm John Lewis’s latest update on the state of their business after they suffered during the coronavirus pandemic.

Waitrose had been a bright spot of the business but its split with Ocado and the subsequent costs of setting up its own distribution have had an effect. 

Increased staff overheads during lockdown due to the huge demand have also taken their toll.

The latest closures mean 19 Waitrose shops have closed in the past 18 months.

The closures are part of an ongoing review of the Waitrose store estate which started in 2017.

Wolverhampton's Waitrose (pictured) will be closed but its staff taken on by Tesco

Wolverhampton’s Waitrose (pictured) will be closed but its staff taken on by Tesco

Berangere Michel, executive director of customer service for the John Lewis Partnership, said: ‘Closing any of our shops is always a last resort and is not a reflection on the dedication of our partners in Caldicot, Ipswich Corn Exchange, Shrewsbury and Wolverhampton.

‘Sadly, we have not been able to find a way to make these shops profitable in the long-term, despite the hard work of everyone involved.

‘Our priority now is the wellbeing and future of our partners in these shops.

Berangere Michel, executive director of customer service, said moves were 'last resort'

Berangere Michel, executive director of customer service, said moves were ‘last resort’

‘We will do everything we can to support them and explore opportunities wherever possible for those who may wish to remain with the partnership.’

Parent business John Lewis Partnership had said in July that it could close more of the supermarket arm’s outlets as part of cost-saving measures.

The group previously announced the closure of eight John Lewis retail sites, which put 1,300 jobs at risk, as part of its turnaround efforts. 

Waitrose is expected to reveal higher sales after being boosted by demand for groceries and online deliveries in the face of the pandemic.

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