Beleaguered supermarket giant Tesco has written to Armagh council confirming they are not proceeding with their plans to build in the city.
The half-built store on Alexander Road is one of the proposed 49 stores UK-wide which Tesco has decided to pull the plug on.
The company said it will close 43 unprofitable stores across the UK – a “significant proportion” of which will be local convenience shops.
In a letter to the Armagh Council leader, John briggs, Tesco Chief Executive Dave Lewis said he is “very sorry that we have not been able to deliver the investment that we intended”.
Mr Lewis said: “As you will have read in the media, our performance as a business has fallen significantly short of where we would want to be. As a result the financial resources we have available for new investments are severely constrained and we have had to critically review all current and future investment decisions.
“My absolute imperative has to be to protect the future of our business for the c. 300,000 colleagues we employ in communiti
es all over the United Kingdom.
“In recent weeks we have had to face up to some very tough decisions which affect many hard-working people. I don’t want to do that lightly and so it is with a very heavy heart I am announcing today that we are unable to proceed with 49 new planned store developments across the UK, including our planned store in Armagh.
“I am very sorry that we have not been able to deliver the investment that we intended. I know this news will be a real disappointment to many people in your community and we are extremely grateful for the support we have received for our plans.
“I am very aware of the importance of the site to the local community and I am determined that we will work closely with you and Armagh City and District Council to find the right solution for your community.”
FULL REACTION TO FOLLOW
Plans for Tesco restructure:
• restructuring head office and streamlining store management to save £250m a year, with a one-off cost of £300m
• consolidation of head office sites, including the closure of its near 40-year-old group base at Cheshunt in 2016 and making Welwyn Garden City the new HQ
• the closure of 43 unprofitable stores
• 49 planned new stores axed
• consultation to close the company’s defined-benefit pension scheme, which is £3.4bn in deficit
• the disposal of Tesco Broadband and Blinkbox to TalkTalk
• the appointment of advisors to explore strategic options for the Dunnhumby data-mining business
• no final dividend for the current financial year
• and hiring Halfords’ boss Matt Davies as UK & Ireland CEO. He starts on 1 June