Budgens to take over Wisbech supermarket as Co-op sells off stores

Budgens are set to take over Wisbech Co-op
Budgens are set to take over Wisbech Co-op
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The Co-op is selling off 36 former Somerfield stores, including its site in Wisbech, just 8 years after its £1.6billion takeover of the supermarket chain.

The 36 former Somerfield stores, currently trading as Co-op supermarkets, have been snapped up by the Food Retailer Group for an undisclosed sum.

As part of the deal, all 36 stores will be re-branded as Budgens supermarkets, with none of the 920 affected staff losing their jobs as they will be transferred to the new business under an agreement.

Two years ago the Co-op wrote down the value of its Somerfield store chain by £226million, which added to its woes as it nursed a £2.1billion loss in its banking arm for 2013, the worst result in its 170-year-old history.

Steve Murrells, chief executive of Co-op Food, said: “It is essential that we have a proactive property programme in place to support our long-term growth strategy and this sale aligns with that approach.’

Ploughing ahead with its ‘focus on convenience shopping’, the Co-op sold off 91 food stores in 2015, raising a total of £175million.

A spokesman for The Food Retailer Group said: ‘The change in ownership will not impact daily business and stores will continue trading as usual. All employees will transfer with the business, and there are no planned redundancies.”