WICK’s Haldanes store is to close along with the rest of the supermarket’s chain.
Hundreds of jobs are set to go at its 26 UK shops, after a ‘devastated’ chief executive, Arthur Harris announced he had called in the administrators.
The story broke earlier today, but there were earlier indications, in recent days at the Wick store where stock appeared to be running down. And, attempts by the org to contact the company’s media office proved unsuccessful. Their web page was down.
The bad news emerged on radio and television channels today and confirmation of the Wick store’s demise came in a small poster on the front door which announced that the branch would shut on June 14 adding that most items would be reduced by 25%, likely to trigger a final, uncharacteristic, burst of business.
Haldanes was launched less than two years ago and was the first new supermarket chain in the UK for 27 years.
Mr Harris said their thoughts were with the employees –totalling 600- who find themselves facing an uncertain future.
He added: “We would like to publicly thank them for their efforts and loyalty during their time with us. We will work closely with the administrator and do our utmost to secure the future of a group of stores in the Haldanes estate.”
The company has 13 stores in Scotland and it is understood that four of them might be sold off, although they have not been identified.
The Riverside-based Wick store has had a chequered career starting out as Templeton’s, then becoming Safeway, and Somerfield following takeovers and finally changing ownership to Haldanes.
Noel Donaldson comments: “It’s a bitter blow for Wick not least for the staff having to face the challenge of finding alternative jobs which will be extremely difficult in the current economic climate. It was only a few days ago that I was commenting on the positive fact that a couple of non-fastfood shops had moved into Bridge Street...now this comes along.”