Morrisons has announced plans to close 132 of its McColl’s convenience stores, which are losing money.

The cuts will be made after the grocery store chain consented to save McColl’s from bankruptcy in May.

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The decision means 1,300 jobs are in jeopardy, although staff will be offered a lifeline to work elsewhere.

Employees who are under threat will be offered positions elsewhere in the company, the grocer said.

Morrisons plans to convert the majority of its remaining McColl’s stores into Morrisons Daily stores in an effort to turn around the chain’s fortunes.

There are currently 1,164 McColl’s stores in the UK, 286 of which are under the Morrisons Daily banner.

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Morrisons said all of the stores set to close were “loss-making” and had “no realistic prospect” of recovering in the near future.

The shops are located throughout England, Scotland, and Wales.

The majority will be closed “in an orderly fashion” over the rest of the year, according to the statement.

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The grocer said workers at risk of redundancy “will be offered alternative employment at a nearby McColl’s store, Morrisons store, logistics operation or food-making centre”.

55 of the stores closing will have a Post Office counter.

Morrisons said it would postpone the closures until next year to allow them to serve local communities during Christmas “and to give the Post Office more time to make alternative arrangements.”

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Morrisons’ acquisition of McColl’s was approved by competition authorities last week.

To address competition concerns, the supermarket chain had previously stated it would sell 28 McColl’s locations.

McColl’s is a business “of significant scale”, Morrisons added, with an annual turnover of £1.2bn. It accounts for about 0.8% of the UK grocery market, it added.

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It said no further store closures were currently being considered but it remains in talks with “a number of landlords of challenged stores”.

Morrisons’ chief executive David Potts said after the green light from the competition watchdog, the retailer was “now able to begin the urgent journey to transform McColl’s into a viable, well-invested and growing operation”.

Mr. Potts went on to say that after the store conversions, there would be over 1,000 Morrisons Daily stores open within two years.

Joseph Sutton, the director of Morrisons wholesale, said: “We very much regret the proposed closure of 132 loss-making stores but it is, very sadly, an important step towards the regeneration of the business.”

Source: BBC News

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