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Durham Waitrose store to close

Posted on 23rd January 2008. No Comment

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Over 100 jobs are going with the closure of Waitrose supermarket in Durham, which opened in November 2005. The 18,000 sq ft store, located in The Gates shopping centre, was one of five locations bought by Waitrose following Morrisons’ acquisition of Safeway.

In a press release the company said it did not make the decision lightly but blamed the closure on the store’s failure to make a profit. The store will be closing in the summer.

A spokesman for Waitrose said: “Where possible, suitable employment will be found for its 103 Durham partners – either at the new branch in Newcastle or elsewhere in the John Lewis Partnership. If this cannot be achieved, partners will receive a redundancy package and be given support to find alternative positions elsewhere.”

Mark Price, managing director of Waitrose, said: “The decision to close our Durham branch was not a decision we took lightly, and was made after long and careful consideration. We made a major investment in the Durham branch with every expectation that the shop would be successful. We understand the disappointment this decision will cause, however, the store has traded at a loss since we opened two years ago.”

Over the past 6 month period takings across all 187 Waitrose supermarkets jumped 7.5 per cent to £74.6m, lead mainly by an increase in sales of free-range and organic food.

While it may be the end for Durham’s Waitrose, rival supermarket giant Tesco are rumoured to have plans to create a new Tesco Express store on North Road.

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  • Alex said:

    Bloody hell! Bit of a shame but it does always seem very empty. Doesn’t look very good for the city, and a disaster for the Gates too. I guess another supermarket might buy it up.

  • Toby said:

    It isn’t as though the Gates is that great for shops in general. Why would another supermarket be interested?

  • JR said:

    Staff seem to have mixed opinions on the cause: either blaming locals for not appreciating the better food they sell, or the council for unreasonably high rates. It’s not just bad for us middle-class types, but for the city, as it struggles to attract world-class people to turn it into the world-class place that it should be. If the council’s fingerprints are on his one, they’ll be needing advice from Sam Allardyce.

  • V said:

    although im shocked at the same time waitrose is expensive and although durham has millions of rich/middle class students who can afford to spend their money their, its much better for students and locals alike to save their pounds and shop at tesco.

  • Alex said:

    The problem that I have with the Durham Waitrose is that it lacks the overall sense of quality that other Waitrose stores have. In my experience other stores are typically much smaller than Durham’s, but seem to offer a much better shopping experience.

    When Waitrose first opened I went for a look around with high expectations. At the entrance a suited employee was handing out baskets to customers and welcoming them. Perhaps it was just a co-incidence that I didn’t receive a basket or a welcoming smile; maybe students aren’t the sort of people that Waitrose were expecting to attract.
    I had the same unwelcome feeling as I walked around the store. There were a few free sample tables at the end of the aisles, but the staff didn’t even acknowledge my existence when I hovered around to try and have a free sample of cheese.

    Durham’s store is badly designed. It still feels like Safeway did two years ago, but with a significant lack of choice compared to other supermarkets and everything is unjustifiably more expensive.

    There have been numerous times when I’ve simply been unable to complete an average shop there, due to a lack of fundamental items such as bread. I gave up and went to Iceland. Also, this is probably just me being weird, but does anyone else feel guilty dumping your trolley near the checkouts after you’ve paid as there’s nowhere to put them?

    I’ve always wondered how long it would take before it closed. Perhaps we’re just not ready for Waitrose ‘up North’.

  • Richard said:

    Alex, I can’t imagine how stressful shopping must be for you. If the guilt of not knowing where to place your trolley hasn’t pushed you to lining the pockets of Kerry Katona & Coleen Nolan then the fact that no-one is offering to pop little cheese balls into your mouth with one hand while giving you a foot massage with the other makes you think that Waitrose doesn’t want your custom. Tesco does well because you can go there and buy everything you need for the price it costs to buy a ready-meal at Waitrose. And there isn’t even a free cheese sample in sight.

    Waitrose is expensive because it is Waitrose in the same way as M&S is expensive because it’s M&S. And – are you ready for this? – the reason there isn’t much choice in Waitrose is because the building is tiny. Da-dah! Crazy, I know.

  • Mary said:

    I’m not one of those middle-class students which acres of money to spend, but I like that when I’m feeling a bit flush, I can go to Waitrose and find something exciting and extra nice…Is that wrong? I will definitely miss Waitrose.xxx

  • Arthur said:

    Oh well, at least if it’s not closing till the summer us finalists won’t be effected. And what do you mean “Tesco are rumoured to have plans to create a new Tesco Express store on North Road” – I’d have thought the big signs saying “Tesco Coming Soon” suggest that this is more than a rumour.

  • Pip said:

    Farewell, Waitrose!
    Ta-ta, amazing selection of cheese!
    Adios, little ‘reduced’ labels!
    So long, amazing three-pound wine!

    Sigh.

  • Lee said:

    I occasionally pop in there on my way home from work to pick up some essentials, but never bought very much and I can’t think of anyone I know who goes in there. The problem with Waitrose is that it doesn’t offer the ‘More For Your Money’ model that other supermarkets have adopted and they were obviously under the false illusion that most people who live in Durham and its surrounding areas are wealthy, middle-class people, which is far from the truth! Also, the location is not ideal either – The Gates and North Road are no-go areas for most people as there is nothing to attract you to go there – The Gates has more vacant units than occupied ones and the only store to open there in the past year is Poundland! It may have offered a bit of up-market class to the City, but it was out of the league for most people!

    Tesco Express, on the other hand, will more than likely be very successful when it opens, especially with the students, and the Express stores usually stay open til late.

    Durham as a whole is still not very good for shopping, it lacks a department store, which could have opened in place of BHS (who goes in there anyway?!) – I usually go to Newcastle or Darlington, where there is a better mix of stores.

  • Olivia said:

    Aww… I like Waitrose. It was my stop for bread / cheese / milk / fish / wine, along with the North Road greengrocers for veg, when I was living out (mostly by virtue of proximity, but it is still nicer than Tescos).

    The market traders (cheese stall in particular) might do better out of it I suppose.

    But I think I’ll get some belgian waffles and wine before Waitrose closes. :-)

  • Bruno said:

    Seriously. Use Sainsbury’s online delivery if Waitrose closing makes you all feel so cut off from southern middle-classdom.

  • Olivia said:

    Buuuut the belgian waafffles… :-)

    Home delivery is boring.

  • ChrisJ said:

    Every time I shopped in Waitrose last year, I was left scratching my head as to how the 6 items in my basket managed to add up to such a wallet-crippling sum.
    Sure it’s nice for a treat, but we’ve got M&S for that, so there’s simply no need for another decadent food store.
    I was really dissapointed when Morrissons turned into a Waitrose two years ago, and I’ll be glad to see that back of it.
    I say, bring on the Tesco Express on North Road!

  • Andrea said:

    The best flat mate!!
    Go Alex GOOOOO!!!

  • Norico said:

    Tescos within walking distance, about f-ing time. xxx

  • keith said:

    It is a shame about waitrose as it will put another big hole in the Gates which is a dreadful place. The money that they spent tarting it up should have been spent demolishing it and building something to be proud of instead of the s**t hole that it is. The painted walls outside are dreaful and the big signs saying the gates on the walls are criminal. It is a shame that it has to be Tesco (not exactly quality) which will please the students as they are only here for 30 weeks of the year, what about those of us who live in the city 52 weeks of the year.

  • Fryd said:

    Waitrose is overpriced and underwhelming. And it doesn’t even stock ‘Reggae Reggae Sauce’ like Sainsbury’s.

  • Phil said:

    I tried that reggae reggae sauce, and although I couldn’t quite identify the reggae I do remember thinking ‘Oh those silly dragons in their den, they must be kicking themselves now.’ I also thought ‘Crumbs! This is a bit hot!’ Just thought you should all know…

  • Vicki said:

    I’m pretty sure one or two of the dragons went in for the Reggae, Reggae Sauce?

    It is fairly delicious – but one or two light splashes will suffice, I find.

  • Josh said:

    I see that this fortnights Palatinate have ripped off your trolley graphic idea (P10)… or could it just be a co-incidence?

  • The Doctor said:

    just because you northern lot have wallets that are very
    thin and your pie eating pallets are so crap. You deserve
    your crap morrisons and asda stores you heathen inbred
    fools. Waitrose owns you all.

  • The Eye Collector said:

    But… now what will keep the toffs out of Tesco?

  • Jack Kingston said:

    Waitrose is more becuase its better and this is a basic fundemental that you have failed to appreciate! Other shops that Waitrose have up north are flying as their locals appreciate the quality and search out the bargains that can be had – and there are some gems!