Dismay as town’s Co-op store announces closure

Somerfields Heanor to close.
Somerfields Heanor to close.

A HEANOR supermarket is to close down, putting 27 jobs at risk.

The Co-op’s Somerfield store on Market Street is to shut its doors on April 16.

The store became a Co-op a year ago after the company bought the Somerfield chain.

Company bosses have given poor trading as the reason for the closure.

A spokesperson for The Co-operative Group said: “Staff at the store have been informed of the decision, which has been taken with the greatest reluctance.

“The store has not been sold to another retailer, and the closure is due to the store’s poor trading performance and is not, in any way, a reflection on the commitment and hard work of the store team.

“Every effort will be made to redeploy as many as possible of the three full-time and 24 part-time staff with The Co-operative, or to help them find alternative employment.”

Heanor deputy mayor, Councillor Harry Soar said the loss of the shop, would be a ‘big blow’ for the town.

He said he believed the opening of the Tesco supermarket on High Street in 1999 and its extension in 2010 has been a major factor in the shop’s decline in profits.

He said: “It will be a loss to Heanor there is no doubt about that.

“It is likely the shop will stay empty for quite some time – if the Co-op can’t make it pay then who can?

Cllr Soar said that the Co-op store had been particularly popular with elderly people as it is in the town centre near the Market Place and was easier to access than the Tesco store.

Shopper Ben Turner, 72, of Carr Fields, Horsley Woodhouse, who uses the Amber line bus to get to the store once a week said most older people liked the Somerfield there because of its location and for its bill paying facilities.

He said: “The Tesco supermarket is very difficult to get to for a 72-year-old.

“No matter how you get to it you need to get past pedestrian crossings, then you have about 50 stairs to go down.

Amber Valley Borough councillor Kevin Parkinson, cabinet member for quality of place, said: “It is clearly very disappointing for Heanor that the Co-op have decided to withdraw its Somerfield store from the town.

It is taking competition away from the high street and has resulted in the loss of jobs which can be devastating for those affected.

“We understand the frustration of some businesses and residents about the number of vacant shops in the town, which are the result of many factors including market trends, rent levels and the current economic downturn.”