Jobs are safe, staff are promised, after Wisbech Co-Op is bought by Budgens

Co-operative store in Wisbech Horsefair

Co-operative store in Wisbech Horsefair - Credit: Archant

Wisbech is one of 36 stores across the country that has been bought by Budgens in a move that is not expected to affect jobs.

First Somerfield, then Co-op and now Budgens, this will be the third owner in eight years for the Horsefair store.

The Co-operative Group is selling off the stores eight years after its £1.6billion takeover of the supermarket chain in 2008.

The 36 stores have been bought by the Food Retailer Group for an undisclosed sum.

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

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Stores being sold off by include Wisbech, Norwich, Sheffield and Weymouth.

The Co-op sold off 91 food stores last year, raising £175m, because they no longer dovetailed with its “focus on convenience shopping”.

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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.”

The Co-op said it would make a profit on the back of the sale, but would not disclose details of the transaction.

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.”

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