Supermarket to close 11 stores

Morrisons, New Market Street, Wigan
Morrisons, New Market Street, Wigan

WIGAN supermarket staff face an uncertain future after bosses announced the closure of 11 of its larger outlets.

It remains unclear if the move – which puts 900 Morrisons jobs at risk – will affect Wigan which has four superstores around the borough.

Pre-tax profits for the half-year to August 2 fell 47 per cent to £126m while like-for-like sales for the period dropped 2.7 per cent compared with the same period last year.

Morrisons has supermarkets in the Galleries in Wigan town centre, Ince, Leigh and Tyldesley.

There are also two of the smaller M Local convenience stores in Bryn and Springfield which have only been open for a matter of months.

Earlier this week Morrisons confirmed that 40 of these outlets would be sold for around £25m to concentrate on its larger supermarkets.

New chief executive David Potts said the group faced a “long journey” to turn around its fortunes.

“With great regret we are proposing to close 11 supermarkets. This is a difficult decision but one which we cannot see any way through to make those stores viable,” he said. “This will be a long and challenging journey but an important one for one of Britain’s great retailers.”

He would not disclose the location of the sites straight away with the decision only just being announced to staff.

Morrisons said it had opened just one new store this year and did not plan to open any more in the remainder of 2015/16 while it expected the sales contribution from net new stores to be negative.

The group said: “We have seen no change in shopping habits, with customers continuing to shop around for value and shopping more frequently. In addition, as we continue to lower prices, deflation has been a consistent recent feature of our LFL (like-for-like sales).”

The company has been criticised for being slow to get into the online and home delivery market.