Posted on Wednesday 28 January 2015 by Ulster Business
Tesco is to close three stores in Northern Ireland as part of a UK-wide cost cutting exercise.
The Church Street store in Ballymena will close on March 15 followed by the Connswater Metro and Cregagh Road superstore, both in east Belfast, on April 4.
The move puts 167 jobs at risk, although the supermarket giant said it would try to deploy the staff at its other stores in Northern Ireland.
It decision to close the shops is part of a swathing review of its business which will see another 40 shops closed in other parts of the UK.
Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis announced the closure of 43 “unprofitable” stores earlier in January.
“The decision to close these stores has been exceptionally difficult to take,” he said in a statement. “ I recognise it will affect many hard working colleagues, our customers and the communities in which these stores are situated.
“Our priority is to explain what this announcement means for our colleagues and wherever possible, offer them alternative roles with Tesco.”
A total of 16 staff will be affected at the Ballymena store, 92 at the Connswater Superstore and 59 at the Cregagh Superstore.
Tesco has been struggling with falling revenues over the last year and has faced a Serious Fraud Office investigation after misstating its profit forcast in 2012.
Already this year it has withdrawn plans to build two new stores, one in Armagh and one in Carryduff.
And the supermarket’s woes could reach deeper in the Northern Ireland economy than first glance given it sources over £500m worth of products from producers here each year.