Retailer ‘looked into’ opening smaller town store before confirming closure

Waitrose, Huntingdon,

Waitrose, Huntingdon, - Credit: Archant

Supermarket chain Waitrose has ruled out opening a smaller store in Huntingdon after failing to find a “viable opportunity” for a new unit.

The retailer announced last month that it would officially close the doors to its St Benedict’s Court store on September 5 but, following a campaign from shop-pers, the company said it looked at other units with a view to opening a smaller store.

However, a spokesman for the company confirmed that this would not happen due to the lack of possibilities in the area.

“I have spoken to the property team and they have assured me that we have explored all options regarding the possibility of a smaller store and have not been able to find a viable opportunity,” a Waitrose spokesman said in an e-mail to Huntingdon councillor, Ste Greenall.

“The market conditions facing the super market sector at present are not something we can ignore, indeed we have sadly had to confirm the closures of five other stores recently as well.

“We are extremely grateful for the support you have shown us, but we would not be proceeding with any closure unless we felt it was necessary.”

The decision was met with disappointment from Cllr Greenall, who launched a petition in a bid to save the store.

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He said: “I guess that, for now, is the end of the line. To all of those people who have rung me, spoken with me, signed the online petition, signed the paper ones outside the store and writ-ten in person to Waitrose, I would like to offer my sincere thanks.”

Waitrose decided to close the store as it was felt the branch required significant investment which, the company said, was unlikely to allow the shop to be profitable over the long term.