Waitrose to close seven stores affecting 677 jobs

Waitrose & Partners has announced that seven shops will close later this year, affecting up to 677 jobs.

The supermarket has entered into a period of consultation with staff affected by the changes, saying it will look for other opportunities within the business for those who wish to stay.

Three sites in Bromley, Oadby, and Wollaton have been sold to Lidl, while a fourth in Sandhurst is being acquired by an unnamed party.

An additional three shops in Marlow, Stevenage, and at the Waterside British Airways headquarters are also closing.

It is expected that the branches will close in the Autumn.

Waitrose’s director of shop trade Mark Gifford said: “We haven’t taken this decision lightly but we have to do what’s right for the business as a whole.

“Thanks to the hard work of all our partners we’re making good progress and Waitrose & Partners is on track for profit growth this year but, despite the best efforts of everyone involved, we haven’t been able to find a way to make these shops profitable in the long term.

“Our priority now is the wellbeing and future of our partners in these shops. We will do everything we can to support them and will explore opportunities for anyone wishing to remain with the partnership.”

It follows the announcement in March that five Waitrose stores had been sold to rival retailers in Torquay, Teignmouth, Ashbourne, Blaby and Barry, affecting 440 staff.

Earlier this year, Waitrose’s owner the John Lewis Partnership slashed its staff bonus for the sixth consecutive year as the retail giant revealed a slump in annual profits.