A supermarket in Wick Shopping Parade is at risk of closure after its operator went into administration.
The Budgens store in Littlehampton has 16 employees.
It is quite devastating for local people. It will affect them.Councillor Mike Northeast
It faces closure after Food Retailer Operations Limited, which operates 34 Budgens stores employing 872 people across the UK, was placed into administration due to ‘difficult trading conditions.’
The company acquired the stores from the Co-op in July 2016.
Michael Denny, Robert Moran and Matthew Hammond of PwC were appointed as Joint Administrators of the company on 10 February 2017.
Mike Denny, Joint Administrator, PwC, said: “The company has faced significant headwinds in the form of pricing pressures, intense competition and structural change across the food retail sector.
“We are continuing to trade all 34 stores, whilst engaging with interested parties for the sites and the other leasehold interests of the Company.
“We will work closely with the employees over the coming weeks.”
A decision has been made by the administrators to offer discounts across all stores in the portfolio to support this strategy, Mr Denny said.
“Our trading strategy reflects our continued focus on engaging with interested parties, whilst seeking to optimise trading performance across all stores,” he said. “We will continue to evaluate our strategy as the sale process progresses over the coming days and weeks.”
Councillor Mike Northeast, of Ham ward, fears a closure would have a negative impact on the shopping centre.
“It’s a very, very sad day,” he said.
“The supermarket in that parade was put there to be an anchor tenant for that parade, to encourage users to come to the area.”
If the shop were closed, he said it would ‘certainly not help footfall on that small parade.’
The closure of the store, which he said opened as a Budgens store last year, would be a blow for residents.
“It’s quite devastating for local people,” he said. “A lot of local people don’t have access to their own transport and have to rely on walking to the supermarket.
“This will affect them.”
He said he will be calling on the district council to do all they can to find another tenant to replace it if it closes.
“We don’t want to see it redeveloped into something else,” he said. “It’s a valuable community resource.”
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