December 12 2013 Latest news:
Monday, September 2, 2013
Around 300 new jobs are to be created in Ipswich under a deal between DIY giant B&Q and supermarket group Morrisons, it has been revealed.
The two retailers have exchanged contracts for the existing B&Q store on the Euro Retail Park to be converted into a smaller format B&Q store and a new Morrisons Fresh format foodstore.
According to a joint statement by the two companies, the development will create more than 300 jobs with Morrisons.
However, there was no immediate word on any job losses among B&Q staff, although the company said it had informed employees at the store of its intention to reduce the size of its operation on the site.
B&Q, which also has a store on the Anglia Retail Park across town in Bury Road. Ipswich, said its remodelled Euro Retail Park store would cover around 30,000sq ft, together with a new 20,000sq ft garden centre.
“B&Q is supportive of the planning application by Morrisons and the jobs that it will create,” the company said. “B&Q will remain open throughout the conversion works, ensuring continuity of service for its valued customers.”
Andrew McDonnell, B&Q’s divisional director for London and East Anglia, added: “We want to offer our Ipswich customers the best that we can in home improvement and the new size store will include new features and services that will not only inspire customers but will also help them to undertake their home improvement projects.
“This deal will enable us to continue to serve our Ipswich customers to the highest possible standard and we are committed to working with Morrisons to enhance the whole shopping experience on the site.”
Morrisons, which already has a major store in Sproughton Road, Ipswich, said it had initiated a pre-application planning process with Ipswich Borough Council, proposing a foodstore with a sales area of around 43,000sq ft.
It said dates for a public consultation exhibition on the plans would be announced as soon as possible and a planning application would be submitted following the consultation process.
Helen Rainsford, head of acquisitions in the South for Morrisons, said: “This agreement with B&Q is great news for Ipswich as well as Morrisons.
“Our new store will create new local job opportunities, all with real career and training prospects. We believe our unique offer of high quality, fresh food at great prices is what makes us stand out against our competitors.”
If the proposed development goes ahead it will further intensify competition in the food retail sector in the area, with the Euro Retail Park lying close to Futura Park, where Waitrose opened last year, and the longer-established Sainsbury’s store at Warren Heath. There are also smaller East of England Co-op and Lidl foostores nearby at Ravenwood.