Tesco mothballs £22m store just weeks before opening

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Tesco store mothballed
Tesco store mothballed

A £22 million Tesco store due to open in November but set to be temporarily boarded up is the second "delayed opening" announced by the troubled supermarket giant this month.

The 47,000 sq ft store in Chatteris, near Ely in Cambridgeshire, will be boarded up until further notice with no specific date set for building work to continue, a spokesman confirmed.

As part of the development, a river bed has been moved, an underpass built and a roundabout installed which has sparked numerous complaints.

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It had been hoped that the completed store would provide up to 250 jobs.

A Tesco spokesman said: "After careful consideration, we have decided to delay the opening of our new store in Chatteris.

"We recognise that some people will be disappointed with this decision and we are very grateful for the support we have received in the past for our plans.

"We will make sure the site remains secure and tidy whilst we review timelines for the scheme and will be sure to keep the council and local community informed as our plans progress".

He added that there is no timeline for the development "beyond that it is delayed".

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Tesco store mothballed
Tesco store mothballed

Local anger

The Wisbech Standard reported councillor and former Chatteris mayor Florrie Newell as saying she was "absolutely furious" about the decision.

She told the newspaper: "They've moved the river, put the underpass in and put in that disgusting roundabout which causes major hold-ups because it is not suitable for heavy goods vehicles.

"We've had no end of complaints about it. There was a 40-minute hold-up there when a lorry got stuck.

"Now, they are just going to board up the site and leave it. What about the underpass? That could attract vandals. And there was the promise of all those jobs, which was a lot of lies."

Earlier this month Tesco announced it would be delaying the opening of its new store in Immingham, Lincolnshire.

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More Misery for Tesco After Dodgy Profits Announcement
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'Difficult decision'

The store's shell has been completed, and the fit-out had been planned to begin this month.

A spokesman said: "Following our recent trading update and a further reduction in our national spending plans, we have taken the very difficult decision to delay our Immingham store opening again.

"We know that people in Immingham will be disappointed. This is a decision we have not made lightly. As soon as we are able to provide an update on when the store will open, we will do so."

A spokesman said he was not aware of any other Tesco developments that had been, or were expected to be, delayed.

Earlier this year Tesco announced it was slowing down its store-opening programme. The company has 3,400 stores in the UK, of which 247 are Tesco Extra hypermarkets and 482 are traditional Tesco supermarkets.

The retailer, whose share of the market was above 30% last year, is in the grips of major crisis after it emerged yesterday that it had over-stated its profits guidance to the City by an estimated £250 million.

Closely-watched data from Kantar Worldpanel put the grocery chain's market share at 28.8% in the 12 weeks to September 14, after a 4.5% fall in sales.

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