Staff ‘in tears’ as Asda announces closure of Newmarket store

Plans are being drawn up to close the Asda store at Fordhall Retail Park in Newmarket.

Plans are being drawn up to close the Asda store at Fordhall Retail Park in Newmarket. - Credit: Archant

Asda has announced its decision to close its Newmarket supermarket, with the loss of dozens of jobs in the town.

Asda has confirmed that the store has been under performing and is therefore no longer viable. The store is expected to close in early December.

Anthony Hemmerdinger, senior vice president of operations for the chain, said; “Despite the very best efforts of our colleagues in Asda Newmarket the store sadly continues to under perform in a tough market. The store site has recently reached the expiry of its current lease and so it made sense for us to consider its future.

“Following a consultation process we’ve made the difficult decision to close the store. We expect approximately half of our colleagues to be redeployed to other Asda stores in the area and we will continue to work closely with the remaining colleagues and discuss alternate opportunities.”

In the wake of the announcement representatives from the GMB union attended the store today to negotiate and support 35 members who will be affected by the decision.

Keith Dixon, GMB regional organiser said: “During the consultation period it was clear that the reduction in sales has resulted in the store no longer being viable. Despite looking at various options there was not a profitable proposal which involved keeping the store open.”

The GMB have helped their members, including managers, who wished to remain within Asda, to find alternative roles.

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“Affected members, including salaried members, have been redeployed to neighbouring stores to include Soham, Cambridge and Bury St Edmunds.”

The union also helped members with redundancy package discussions.

Mr Dixon said: “One member I spoke to after the briefing was delighted to be informed that she will receive over one year’s pay as part of her redundancy package.

“A number of members were however tearful when the decision was announced and talked about their 20-year happy service during which they have seen many changes.

“GMB will continue to visit and meet with the members until the closure of the store which is estimated to be early December 2018.”

He added: “There continues to be concerns for our members in all Asda stores with store closures, recent proposals for 2,500 redundancies, further reductions in contracted hours and the uncertainty of the pending take over by Sainsbury’s.

“It is clear following the recent consultations that having a unionised workplace results with better job security and an improved redundancy package.”

An Asda spokesman said it has “listened to feedback and consulted with elected representatives and the GMB who have been central to the process”.