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Tesco to close Blackburn town centre store
A SUPERMARKET giant is to close its only Blackburn town centre store after a lack customers led to a fall in profits.
The Tesco Metro store in The Mall will be one of only two of the firm’s UK shops to close and not re-open in another nearby location ‘in recent memory’ when it ceases trading on January 31 next year.
The group, which owns 3,146 shops in the UK including a superstore in Hill Street and three Express stores in the town, confirmed the decision.
A Tesco spokesman said all 46 employees would be ‘guaranteed’ alternative jobs at other stores nearby.
He said: “Our top priority is to look after our colleagues and we have guaranteed to offer everyone affected an alternative job within Tesco.
“Closing the store was a difficult decision but unfortunately, the relocation of the town’s market in 2011 has meant our store is no longer such a convenient shopping destination.
“We’ll continue to serve customers in Blackburn from our superstore on Hill Street and through our online grocery shopping service.
“It is a rare occurrence and the only other instance in recent memory when one of our stores closed and did not re-open was in Telford in April 2012.”
Jack Straw, MP for Blackburn, said he did not think the store’s departure from the centre would make a difference to its success.
He said: “The irony is that it’s a back-handed compliment to the success of the market.
“I don’t think that many people will miss it and I am surprised that Tesco couldn’t make a go of it and it shows a lack of managerial imagination.
“I will endeavour to ensure that Tesco lives up to its commitment to provide alternative jobs for all staff.”
Maureen Bateson, executive member for regeneration at Blackburn with Darwen Council said: “Whilst we are disappointed with Tesco’s decision, this could be a great opportunity for The Mall to introduce a new offer within this area.
“There is still a wide choice of food retailers in the shopping centre including our very own market.
“There has also been new investment into The Mall with two new retailers opening recently.”
Andy Haughey, retail asset manager for The Mall said: "It is unfortunate Tesco has taken the decision not to invest in its store and to close it.
“We would have welcomed the opportunity to engage with them to ensure their needs were met and we are sorry to see them leave.
"The Mall Blackburn and wider town has benefited hugely from the significant redevelopment we have carried out.
“Over the past two years, our retailers have performed consistently well and footfall has risen, positioning Blackburn as a popular retail destination.
“Our focus is now on securing a new brand to take space in Tesco's unit and we are having positive discussions with retailers to ensure this."
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