Dozens of Budgens stores to close

Hundreds of jobs to go - after Food Retailer Operations Ltd goes into administration

A Budgens store

Thirty-four Budgens stores around the country are closing, with the loss of more than 800 jobs.

Food Retailer Operations Limited bought the stores from the Co-op on July last year, converting them from Somerfield stores. It said at the time that no redundancies were planned.

However, the firm went into administration a month ago following 'difficult trading conditions'. Now, administrators PwC say they can't find a buyer for the stores as going concerns, and will try to sell the leases instead.

Nine stores shut up shop over the weekend, with the others expected to close over the next two weeks.

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"Unfortunately, we have been unable to find a buyer and it is not commercially viable to continue trading the stores," says joint administrator Mike Denny of PwC.

"We are working closely with the Co-op, USDAW and the relevant government agencies to ensure that all employees receive the maximum levels of practical and financial support through the redundancy process."

The rest of the Budgens chain - which has more than 100 stores - won't be affected. They are owned by Booker Group, which is set to merge with Tesco.

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Sainsbury's to close all Netto stores

But Budgens isn't the only chain to be experiencing problems - and shutting stores as a result. Last year, Marks & Spencer announced that it was planning to shut 30 outlets around the UK. Last year, Sainsbury's closed all its Netto stores.

"This is devastating news for the 800 staff affected," says John Gorle of union USDAW.

"I am seeking an urgent meeting with the Co-op about possible redeployment opportunities and we will explore all avenues to help members seek alternative employment. In the meantime our team of Usdaw reps and officials are providing the support, advice and representation our members need."

The affected stores:
South Benfleet
Weoley Castle
Dagenham (Becontree)
Northumberland Heath
Buckley - Brunswick Rd
Crewkerne - Falklands Sq
Helston - The Parade
Cardigan - Lower Mwldan
Totnes - Fore St
Shaftesbury - Bell St
Christchurch - Saxon Sq
Rochford - Roche Close
Basingstoke - Winklebury Way
Tiverton - Market Walk
Gillingham, Kent
Southall, London
Littlehampton - Wick St
Sherwood - Mansfield Rd
Newport, Shropshire
New Invention, Shropshire
New Brighton
St Neots
Monmouth - Oldway Centre
Weymouth - Littlemoor Rd

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