Morrisons ‘regrets’ decision to close ‘lifeline’ Sheffield McColl’s shop

By Molly Williams, Local Democracy Reporter

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Lib Dem Beauchief and Greenhill councillors Simon Clement-Jones, Richard Shaw and Sophie Thornton (Photo: LDRS)

Morrisons said it “regrets” the closure of a “lifeline” McColl’s shop but it was necessary in a letter to a local councillor who urged them to reconsider.

Liz Tattersley, corporate affairs manager for the supermarket giant, told Cllr Richard Shaw to rest assured the decision to close the shop on Hutcliffe Wood Road was not taken lightly and affected staff were offered new roles within the business.

Beauchief and Greenhill councillor Shaw visited the McColl’s shop on Sunday, November 20 – its last day of trading – to send a message urging the chief executive David Potts to think again.

Shaw called it the “end of an era” and, in a letter to the boss, he said: “This store has served our community for many years, both as a McColl’s and previously as a Co-Op. It provides a vital service for people in the area, particularly those older or less mobile residents who cannot travel far, who do not have access to a vehicle or would need to travel by bus or taxi to the nearest convenience store.

“I implore you to reconsider the closure of this store, or to at least not do so until it can be sold as a going-concern to another business.”

Around 500 people signed a petition to keep the store open but Morrisons was insistent on its closure.

Tattersley said there was no realistic prospect of the store achieving a break even position in the medium term. She said the store had been loss-making for some time in part due to the building itself and the limited parking outside restricting sales potential.

“We very much regret the closure of this store and understand it is difficult news for the town, but it is a necessary step towards safeguarding the future regeneration of the business,” she added.

Community campaign

A petition to prevent the closure was launched by Emily Sutton-Ruseva, who said this was the only accessible shop without relying on public transport or taxis for many in the S8 area of Sheffield.

Many of the hundreds who signed the petition commented in support.

Alison Newby said: “The shop is of huge importance to the local residents, many of whom are elderly and, or disabled. My dad visits almost every day. The thought of having to travel by bus or taxi for a newspaper or a pint of milk is worrying him greatly.”

Victoria Butterell called it a “lifeline” for the community.

William Horner commented: “Beauchief would be losing its only general store. When communities lose vital hubs like this, sooner or later they cease to be communities.”

Others added that the staff were wonderful.

Scores of McColl’s shops close

The closure of 132 McColl’s shops across the country – including five in South Yorkshire – put 1,300 jobs at risk, just months after Morrisons bought the company.

Morrisons said it was a sad but important step towards regenerating the business.