Jobs losses as fuel stations close

UP to 25 jobs are to be lost when the East of England Cooperative Society closes most of its car dealerships and fuel stations in Ipswich, it was revealed today.

UP to 25 jobs are to be lost when the East of England Cooperative Society closes most of its car dealerships and fuel stations in Ipswich, it was revealed today.

Plummeting profits have led the Coop to sell-off dealerships and shut down filling stations at a number of sites in the town.

The latest site to be hit is the Derby Road filling station, which is set to close toward the end of January. Close behind that will be the Burrell Road station, which will close at the end of March.

The closures are part of a year-long “rationalisation” process which the society today said was a result of increased competition.


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Mike Faulkner, East of England Coop secretary, said: “We are finding it very difficult to compete in petrol sales with the out-of-town superstores and they have been taking a lot of business.

“Petrol sales have been exceedingly difficult these past few years. Margins have fallen away massively.”

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A dealership at Norwich Road, which had been run by the Coop's motor sales division Sterling Motor Group, is now run by rival dealer Glynn Hopkin and the society is planning similar deals for the Derby Road and Burrell Road operations.

At Derby Road, the Coop is in discussions with another Ipswich dealership company to take over the Sterling Citroen and Peugeot dealerships.

That exchange is expected to happen in late January and the service station will be closed at the same time to allow the dealerships to occupy the space it currently occupies.

At Burrell Road, Sterling Motor Group's Kia dealership has already closed and Mr Faulkner today revealed there are plans to transfer the Chevrolet dealership to a new operator who will run it from another location in the town.

That transfer is expected to take place at the end of March and the Coop has taken the decision to close the filling station when that happens.

Mr Faulkner said: “The Norwich Road site, the Burrell Road site and the Derby Road site are no longer viable and the space taken by the forecourt could be put to much better use.”

The Coop today said it was doing everything it could to find alternative jobs for the 25 people affected by the closures.

Mr Faulkner said: “We have worked really hard to try to minimise the effect and tried to find new places for the staff within the society.”

The Coop said there are no plans to close its fuel stations at Hamilton Road in Felixstowe, where the Peugeot dealership has already been closed, and at Nacton Road in Ipswich.

Weblinks: www.eastofengland.coop; www.sterlingmotorgroup.co.uk

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