Somerfield future still not settled

AS the deal by the Co-op to take over rival supermarket chain Somerfield nears completion, there is still no firm decision on the fate of the newest food store in Ipswich town centre.

AS the deal by the Co-op to take over rival supermarket chain Somerfield nears completion, there is still no firm decision on the fate of the newest food store in Ipswich town centre.

Somerfield opened a small food store in Carr Street, just a few metres from the Co-op's department store - which includes a food department - last autumn.

But East of England Co-op chief executive Richard Samson said today there was no firm decision on what would happen once the deal was completed.

Somerfield is being taken over by The Co-operative Group, which is a separate entity to the East of England Co-op. But in the past when the national group has taken over stores they have sold them off in areas where there is a strong regional society.


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The deal has been pushed into focus after it was revealed that up-market supermarket chain Waitrose is to take over the large Somerfield store in Saxmundham.

Mr Samson revealed that the East of England Co-op had hoped to buy the store - but the deal had been blocked by the government.

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He said: “We had hoped that we might acquire the Somerfield supermarket in Saxmundham, but unfortunately the OFT would not allow us to purchase this store from the Co-operative Group and Waitrose has now been successful in buying it.

“Waitrose is a quality retailer, which also operates as a co-operative, but with their employees or partners sharing the profits.

“I believe they will be a popular choice locally, as it seems that people are getting rather fed up with certain national food retailers, who already have a massive UK market share, trying to dominate every community in the country, which can't possibly be in the consumer interest."

There are already large Co-ops - operating under the Solar banner - in Leiston, Aldeburgh, and Framlingham so it is little surprise that the possibility of taking over the Saxmundham store would give rise to monopoly concerns.

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