Co-op sells Ilfracombe store to Lidl

THE Gazette has learned that Ilfracombe s newest Co-op store at the sea front is to be sold to European supermarket giant Lidl. The store opened in December, 2006, but in a statement The Co-operative Group said it would close on November 1 and transfer to

THE Gazette has learned that Ilfracombe's newest Co-op store at the sea front is to be sold to European supermarket giant Lidl.

The store opened in December, 2006, but in a statement The Co-operative Group said it would close on November 1 and transfer to Lidl on November 9.

The sale has come about following Co-op's �1.6 billion take over of the Somerfield chain back in March, which was dependent on the group addressing local competition issues identified by the Office of Fair Trading.

"The OFT identified Ilfracombe as one of the locations where it had competition concerns," a spokeswoman for the group said in a statement to the Gazette.


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"To meet the requirements, either the Somerfield store or The Co-operative Group's Wilder Road store had to be sold as a going concern to another food retailer.

"I can confirm the Group has agreed to sell the Wilder Road Co-operative to Lidl.

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"The store will be sold as a going concern and staff will automatically transfer to Lidl, with their terms and conditions of employment maintained under employment law.

"Our staff have been briefed. We would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their commitment and hard work."

In relation to how this will affect Somerfield stores, she added:

"The Co-operative Group plans to convert Somerfield stores to Co-operatives over a period of two years. The rebrand programme is already under way.

"Currently, we do not have a date for when the Ilfracombe store will be rebranded. It is business as usual at Somerfield stores but there will be ongoing changes to enhance product ranges and value for money."

The 10,000 sq ft Wilder Road store replaced a smaller Co-op in the High Street almost three years ago and took several years to work its way through the planning process before it became a reality.

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