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Co-op food store to close

By GRichardson | Posted: November 16, 2016

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Co-op is to close its food store in Broadclyst, it has been confirmed.

The shop in Station Road, where locals have been buying their groceries for decades, will close in February.

Sixteen members of staff are facing an uncertain future but the company has said it hopes to redeploy them where possible.

The long-established store has traded under the Co-operative brand since 2010, when the former Somerfield underwent a makeover following the Co-op group’s £1.56 billion acquisition of the chain.

A spokesman for the Co-op said: “We can confirm that our food store in Broadclyst is to close on Saturday, February 18, 2017.

“The decision to close the store has been made as part of our ongoing store review process, and is in no way a reflection on the hard work and commitment from the 16 colleagues working at the store.

“We would like to thank our shoppers for their valued custom over the years.”

He added: “Every effort will be made to redeploy colleagues within the Co-op, or to help them find alternative employment.”

The company has so far not responded to questions about its plans for the building, which has an in-store bakery.

Loyal customers Bill and Silve Woodman had the honour of cutting the ribbon at the store’s reopening in 2010, having shopped there for the last 40 years.

The shop was again in the news in 2014, when long serving worker Dave Flower retired.

In the early 1980s he moved to what had been the Romart store in Broadclyst, founded by local entrepreneur Gerald Rowe.

“It was Gateways by the time I arrived here, then it became Kwik Save, then Food Giant, then Solo and after that Somerfield – and now it’s the Co-op,” said Dave.

“Funnily enough I have got a tie for every one of them because in those days you had to wear a tie to work.”

The nearest other Co-op Food stores in the area are at Cranbrook and the Exeter branches in Beacon Lane, Fore Street, Heavitree, and Sidwell Street.

The retailer also has branches in Fore Street, Cowick Street, Queen Street, Pennsylvania Road, Haven Banks, Alphington Road and Buddle Lane in Exeter, as well as in Dunsford Hill, Topsham, Exmouth, Budleigh Salterton, Crediton, Chudleigh, Dawlish, Moretonhampstead, Bovey Tracey, Cullompton, Honiton, Sidmouth and Ottery St Mary.

In July it was announced that the branches in Fore Street, Sidwell Street, Dunsford Hill, Ottery St Mary and Magnolia Walk in Exmouth were among 298 of Co-op’s smaller food stores being sold to McColl’s Retail Group in a £117 million deal.

Staff in those shops were due to transfer over to McColl’s as early as this month.

Earlier this year the Co-op said it planned to close or sell about 100 branches this year. It had already sold off its pharmacy, farms and most of the Co-op bank as part of a rescue plan led by chief executive Richard Pennycook, who took over the struggling business in 2013.

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