East of England Co-op to close third store in Ipswich

Last week's official opening of the East of England Co-op's new Co-op Daily store in Handford Road,

Last week's official opening of the East of England Co-op's new Co-op Daily store in Handford Road, Ipswich. - Credit: Archant

The East of England Co-operative Society is to close another of its stores in Ipswich – the third this year.

But the society has stressed that it is also opening new branches as part of a “right store, right place” strategy adopted in response to tough competition in the grocery sector,

The society has already closed its Camden Road and Barrack Corner stores in Ipswich – with all staff being offered new roles elswhere – and the store in Prince of Wales Drive is to follow suit in the coming weeks.

However, it has also opened three food stores, two opticians and two funerals branches across the region this year, including a Co-op Daily food store in Handford Road, Ipswich, just last week.

Roger Grosvenor, executive officer for retail, said the decision to close a store was not one the society took lightly. “We constantly review our business portfolio, part of the reason for which is to ensure that we have a sustainable business for a long future,” he said.

“In the ever-challenging retail environment and changing customer habits, we have the unenviable challenge of balancing our social responsibility with business success.

“The East of England Co-op has invested significantly in new branches across the region, including a new £1.1million Co-op Daily food store and Subway sandwich concession on Handford Road, Ipswich. We are committed to progressing a wide range of services based on a long term sustainable plan, which also includes investment in IT infrastructure,” he added.

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Besides the national price war, as the “big four” of Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons respond to competition from discounters such as Aldi and Lidl, the East of England Co-op also faces increased competition locally with Tesco and Sainsbury’s now having more than a dozen stores between them in and around Ipswich.

However, it still operates more than 20 food stores of its own in the area, part of a total of more than 200 food, travel, pharmacy, opticians and funerals sites across East Anglia.