'A disaster for the town centre': Grangemouth shoppers react to news of Farmfoods' impending closure

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Words and phrases like “ghost town”, “dagger in the heart” and “disaster” were common responses as shoppers learned Farmfoods would be shutting its store in La Porte Precinct, Grangemouth, for good in a matter of days.

The shop, which has been part of the town for all of this century, is reportedly shutting for good on Sunday, January 8.

Falkirk Council stated it had been charging Farmfoods “concessionary rent” at the location for a number of years, but this was no longer “sustainable”.

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A council spokesperson said: “We are sad to hear of Farmfoods’ intention to vacate their Grangemouth site in 2023. The council has been supporting the company since 2017 by charging them a concessionary rent to help them to stay in the town centre.

Farmfoods is scheduled to close for good on January 8, 2023Farmfoods is scheduled to close for good on January 8, 2023
Farmfoods is scheduled to close for good on January 8, 2023

"Given Farmfoods is a profitable national retailer this is not a sustainable position and so we have spent months attempting to reach an arrangement for a new lease or temporary agreement but these have unfortunately been rejected.

“Our immediate concern is the welfare of the employees who may be affected by the closure and the council has approached Farmfoods and offered our assistance to support them find new opportunities."

Farmfoods refused to comment on the matter.

Shoppers let their feelings be known online – many placing the blame on Falkirk Council’s doorstep.

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Ross Corbett: “A disaster for the town Centre and the local community will miss the shop, usual council making commercial decisions that will have a negative effect. Food retailers should be supported by local authorities to ensure they are able to trade competitively and return a profit, it’s not as if they need the space in the shopping centre which has more empty units than occupied – it’s just wrong.”

Stevie K Keenan: “Falkirk Council once again putting the nail in the coffin of the shops in Grangemouth Town Centre, shame on them.”

Laura Carr: “Surely concessionary rent is better than no rent? No point in units lying empty and forcing others out of business.”

Tracey Gallacher: "Farmfoods has always been a part of the town for as long as I remember – there will be more shops closing due to rent being put up. Thank you Falkirk Council, our town centre is going to be empty.”

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While some blamed Falkirk Council hiking the rents back up, others pointed to Farmfoods for being unwilling to pay the increased rent.

Peter Johnston: “The way I read this is big business trying to increase their profit to the detriment of the local council.”

Gary Acheson: “Imagine making 14.6 million in profit and not being able to afford full rent. How much are the council charging?”

Nathan Anderson: “Why should a big company like Farmfoods get away with cheaper rent, when other shops need to pay full price? If Farmfoods don't think it's worth the money, I'm sure Iceland and Asda will welcome the custom.”

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A few people spared a thought for the people who would be losing their jobs when the store closes.

Jean Keltie: “Hope all the workers find other jobs.”

David Farquhar: “I feel really sorry for the staff – the girls and guys that work in there for their money – but I suppose we will never know the real story of why the shop is closing.”

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