Published: 08/12/2012 14:00 - Updated: 07/12/2012 12:48

Keith plea to keep Co-op open

EFFORTS are being made to persuade The Co-op to rethink a decision to close a Moray store with the loss of 15 jobs.

A campaign has been launched to keep the Co-op open.
A campaign has been launched to keep the Co-op open.

The company has confirmedthat its outlet in Mid Street, Keith, is due to close on Saturday, December 29.

Local councillor Gary Coull has written to the company pleading with it to keep the store open as efforts to boost Mid Street take effect.

And a petition has also been launched in the town in a bid to persuade the Co-op to change its mind.

A Co-op spokesman said: "Staff at the store have been informed of the decision, which has been taken with the greatest regret. The closure is due to poor trading performance and is not, in any way, a reflection on the commitment and hard work of the store team.

"Every effort will be made to redeploy as many as possible of the five full-time and 10 part-time members of staff with The Co-operative Group, or to help them find alternative employment.

"We are currently marketing the store, and we are obviously keen for it to be occupied by another retailer."

Councillor Coull said: "This is a lot of jobs for the local community and we are disappointed the Co-op feel they have had to make this decision.

"It is a prime site in Mid Street where there are a lot of regeneration efforts ongoing."

A £1 million investment through a Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS) over five years aims to boost the appearance and footfall on the town’s main shopping area.

"We have just had a meeting about improved signage to attract more people in to Mid Street. A lot of people passing through the town don’t realise Mid Street is there," said Councillor Coull.

The Keith and Strathisla Regeneration Partnership is also working on a promotional package to encourage new businesses to locate in the town.

"Keith is very much open for business. We would hope to get the Co-op to reconsider their decision if we can spell out some of the things that are happening to try and increase footfall in Mid Street. Ultimately it will be a business decision."

He said the economic but also social impact of losing a store like the Co-op had to be considered.

"A lot of older folk don’t like using the bigger supermarekts and don’t always have the transport to get there. The Co-op is right in the heart of Mid Street and easy for them to get to.

"I would hope at the very least the Co-op agree to come and meet us. It is not a great time for people to be losing their jobs, although the Co-op has said it will try and redeploy staff elsewhere."

Local retailer Bruce Ross, who owns The Deli Shop in Mid Street, said of the impending Co-op closure: "It is a bit of a disaster for the street. It attacts people on to the street, so less people on the street means less customers for other shops."

•Do you shop in the Co-op in Keith? What do you think of the decision to close it?

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