‘End of an era’ as Co-op branch closes, leaving customers in tears


Locals in Dorset are mourning the closure of a Co-op branch that has been a fixture of their community since the 1950s. Shoppers were reduced to tears as the "lifetime" store shut its doors for the last time on February 10. The closure is part of Co-op's regular review of its store estate, and a spokesperson confirmed that colleagues would transfer to the new operator. Makkah Foods, an international food store, has taken over the location and is set to open in early March.

Customers devastated by the closure

The closure of the Co-op branch has left many locals heartbroken. The store had been their go-to place for groceries and food items for decades, with some customers shopping there since the 1960s. In a letter statement, one shopper expressed their sadness, saying, "For many of us, it's been a whole lifetime."

New store takes its place

Makkah Foods has signed a deal to move its Parkstone store to the former Co-op location. The international food store had been looking to expand for several years and saw the opportunity to acquire the site. The new Makkah Foods store is expected to open in early March.

Co-op closures amid retail crisis

Co-op has joined the growing list of retailers closing stores in the face of Britain's retail crisis. The supermarket chain recently closed its Peacehaven branch in East Sussex, and last year, it shuttered branches in various locations across the country. Some Co-op stores were also acquired by Tesco. The closures are part of a larger trend as rising costs and the impact of the pandemic force retailers to shut down.

Retail apocalypse in the UK

The UK has seen a significant decline in the number of stores in recent years. The British Retail Consortium reported that the country lost 6,000 stores over a five-year period. Many well-known brands have collapsed or entered administration, and others have announced plans to close selected branches. The high street has been hit particularly hard, with retailers facing challenges such as business rates and changing consumer habits.

Some shops bucking the trend

Despite the challenging retail landscape, there are some stores that are defying the odds and opening new locations. Primark, B&M, Sephora, Avon, Costco, and Greggs are among the retailers planning to expand their presence in the UK. These new openings provide a glimmer of hope amid the wave of closures.

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