Kwik Save stores up for sale
Somerfield's stated objective of becoming the UK's leading local shop specialist in the convenience sector, especially in high streets and 'market town' locations took another step forward with the announcement that its Kwik Save concessions are up
Around two-thirds of Kwik Saves shops are to go, 171 to a consortium, 33 to other retailers which are reputed to include LIDL, Netto and Aldi, and 77 to "other investors." The remaining 102 are to be rebadged as Somerfield stores.
Retail union Usdaw is looking for job opportunities for 1,000 Kwik Save staff in the 77 shops being sold to investors who may not be in retailing and could close them, said Paul Clarke, spokesman.
There is hope some staff may get jobs in some of the other Somerfield stores which will total 1100 and, since December, owned by APAX Partners World Wide LLP, Barclays Capital and the Tchenguiz family.
Mr Clarke says hopes are high that the new consortium taking on the 171 stores will keep existing staff and that Kwik Save will regain its identity as a convenience budget shopping retailer able to capitalise on the growth in demand for 24/7 corner shops.
Usdaw national officer, Joanne McGuinness, said: "Somerfield say they need to sell the Kwik Save chain in order to save both of these well known high street brands. Our members have been fully briefed about this announcement and our officials will be working closely with staff in stores. But for Usdaw members in the remaining 77 stores where staff are not transferring to new owners, we are mindful this is a very difficult time for them and we will doing all we can to make sure they get the very best redundancy package if they are to close.
The Kwik Save sale follows new appointments to the management of Somerfield. This week Paul Mason joins as chief executive. He comes from Levi Strauss where he was European president. Before that, he was chief executive at Matalan. He is also a former MD of ASDA Wal-Mart UK and once worked for B&Q. Also joining is John Cleland, new retail director. He comes from B&Q and was also at ASDA Wal Mart for six years. Last month Colin Smith was appointed trading and marketing director from Tesco.
Convenience store trading was strengthened in September when Somerfield paid £18 million for five Safeway forecourt trading operations. Just over £11 million came from the William Pearson Group which acquired the freehold of the five sites.
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