Changes are in store for shops

TWO supermarket giants are to take over branches of Netto in south east Northumberland, creating at least ten new jobs.

The Danish cut-price retail chain’s Cowpen Road branch in Blyth is to become an Asda, and its Choppington Road store in Bedlington is to be turned into a Morrisons.

The changes depend on Asda’s takeover of Netto UK receiving final approval from the Office of Fair Trading pending.

The Blyth store is one of 18 in the region set to be converted into branches of Asda, part of the US-based Wal-Mart chain, by the autumn.

Employees currently working in Netto stores will be transferred after the takeover, on top of which each of the new Asda branches will take on about ten extra staff.

Judith McKenna, Asda’s chief financial officer, said: “The good news for shoppers here in the north east is that there’ll be no premium to shop in one of our smaller stores.

“We’ll charge the same low prices you’ll find in any of our stores.”

The forthcoming Morrison’s branch in Bedlington is one of 16 stores the Bradford-based chain will acquire from Asda after the initial deal.

The handover of the stores is expected to take place on a phased basis beginning in March, with completion of the conversion to the Morrisons format expected to take three months.

Dalton Philips, chief executive of Morrisons, said: “These additional stores are an important next step in our growth.

“We are building on our strategy to bring Morrisons’ unique offer of freshly-prepared, affordable food to more people in Britain.”