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Waitrose decision to close Dartford store sparks angry residents reaction

PUBLISHED: 15:17 03 October 2013 | UPDATED: 16:13 03 October 2013

Waitrose are planning to close their Dartford store

Waitrose are planning to close their Dartford store

Archant

Waitrose have announced they will close their store in Dartford, sparking an angry reaction from residents.

A petition has been launched to try and get the supermarket chain to renew their lease, in the Orchards Shopping Centre, which runs out in March next year.

This could result in the loss of 128 jobs, and the people of Dartford hope to reverse the decision.

Dartford’s Labour leader Geoff Prout said: “This is yet another body blow for our once proud town centre and devastating news for those whose jobs will now be at risk. It just goes to show how fragile and premature any talk of economic recovery is round here.Tim Hilder, Waitrose director of operations, said: “Since 2004 we have found trading at the branch extremely challenging.

“It is therefore with regret that we are proposing to close the branch next year, subject to consulting with our employees working at Waitrose Dartford.

“The business has considered a number of options to make the branch commercially sustainable, but unfortunately we have been unable to find a solution.

“However, we want to ensure Dartford Partners have every opportunity to discuss these options and put forward any suggestions they have on how we might be able to make the branch viable.

“In the event the proposed closure goes ahead, we would continue to trade until at least February 2014 and would then vacate the premises at the end of March when our existing lease expires.”

Campaigners hope to use the example of Sidcup, where residents convinced Waitrose to build a store in the town, to support their case.

At the time of going to press the petition has received 117 signatures.

To sign it visit ipetitions.com/petition/persuade-waitrose-to-keep-their-dartford-branch/

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