Tesco’s decision to close its Grangemouth store will have an adverse effect on the town if another retailer is not found, politicians have warned.
The firm announced last week its Talbot Street store would close on April 4, placing 68 jobs in jeopardy. Tesco said the Metro store was not making a profit.
East Falkirk MP Michael Connarty, along with local councillors Allyson Black and Joan Patterson, met with the supermarket giant on Monday and demanded to know if what Tesco said is true and the Talbot Street store is “unprofitable”.
He said: “I want to see some real figures regarding the store. I spoke to staff and they said they had turned it into a profitables shop in the last year. It’s vital for the area and the shop of choice for a lot of people.”
Mr Connarty said Tesco leases the store from a company called ETOL and that lease runs out in August 2016.
He said: “Tesco seems to want to get rid of the lease and just walk away, but they have responsibility to help market the premises.
“The closure is going to be a blow for the town centre and will have a knock-on effect for other shops if they don’t get another foodstore to replace it.”
Councillor Black said: “Staff at Tesco hope this decision can be reversed, so the job losses can be avoided, because the Grangemouth branch has been working very hard to make the store profitable.
“However, we received a guarantee, whatever happens Tesco will do its best to help potential new retailers move in to the property as quickly and easily as possible and the council’s economic development team will be working with Skills Development Scotland to help and support Tesco staff.”
Tesco began consulting staff at the store yesterday (Wednesday) to see if jobs could be found for them at other branches in the area.
Councillor Dennis Goldie, Falkirk Council’s economic development spokesman, confirmed help and advice will be made available to staff facing redundancy through PACE (Partnership Action for Continuing Employment) support and town centre management will meet with retailers to consider ways to promote Grangemouth town centre in the wake of the Tesco decision.
He said: “The economic downturn and changes in the retail sector are being acutely felt in towns such as Grangemouth and the closure of Tesco stores across Scotland reinforces that.”
Falkirk East MSP Angus MacDonald said: “I am keen to be as pro-active as possible in attracting a replacement retailer and will work with anyone to ensure it happens.”
Councillor Robert Spears called on people to support local shops at this time.
He said: “I would ask people to shop local to keep the town centre alive. Use them or lose them.”