Ellon Supermarket to close its doors

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SUPERMARKET chain Haldanes is to go into administration with the loss of 300 jobs – including those at its Ellon store, it was announced yesterday.

The Ellon store will close its doors on Tuesday 14 June, along with 26 other stores around the country.

Haldanes took over a number of supermarkets following the tie-up between Co-Op and Somerfield, which resulted in the Co-Op having to shed 133 stores at the behest of the Office of Fair Trading. News of the company’s decision to call in the administrators comes just weeks after Haldanes launched legal proceedings against the Co-Op, citing an alleged lack of disclosure over the apparent poor trading performance of several of the stores it took over.

Speaking after the announcement, Haldanes Chief Executive Arthur Harris said his thoughts were with the staff who now faced an uncertain future. “We would like to publicly thank them for their efforts and loyalty during their time with Haldanes,” he said. “We will work closely with the administrator and do our utmost to secure the future of a group of stores in the Haldanes estate.”

However, the suggestion that the Co-Operative Group had contributed in any way to the demise of Haldanes was disputed by a company spokesman, who claimed that the stricken supermarket group had failed to meet its financial obligations to the Co-Op.

“The Co-operative Group regrets that Haldanes has taken the decision to seek an administration order”, he said “Haldanes is substantially indebted to the Group due to its failure to pay rents owing to us. We have acted in good faith throughout our dealings with the business, including providing significant financial support during its start-up phase. Any legal action will be contested vigorously.

“Most recently, we carefully considered a proposal from Haldanes that we provide further financial support to help them through their current difficulties. We regrettably decided, however, that given what appeared to be the levels of the issues facing Haldanes, we could not proceed.”

The Ellon store, which had previously traded as Somerfield, re-opened under the Haldanes brand in February 2010. However, it was already facing an uncertain future following the revelation in February that plans had been drawn up to develop the site for housing.

For more, pick up a copy of next week’s Ellon Times.