Job fears as supermarket chain set to close shops

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HUNDREDS of Scottish jobs are at risk after a supermarket chain went into administration.

Haldanes, the first mid-sized supermarket chain to open in Britain for almost 30 years, has half of its 26 branches in Scotland.

The company, which bought 13 stores in Scotland following the Co-op's acquisition of Somerfield, is expected to close all but two of its stores north of the Border next Tuesday.

Two stores in Scotland - Crieff and Tranent - are expected to remain open in the hope that they can be sold on. Two of the companies stores in England are also expected to remain open.

Last month, Haldanes announced that the company had started legal proceedings against the Co-op, claiming the firm had breached "key terms" of the sales agreement.

The company claimed that if it had been aware of the trading condition of the shops, it would not have bought them.

Arthur Harris, the company's chief executive, confirmed that Haldanes had called in the administrators.

"The directors and I are devastated at having to take this step and our thoughts are with our employees who find themselves facing an uncertain future," he said.

"We would like to publicly thank them for their efforts and loyalty during their time with Haldanes.

"We will work closely with the administrator and do our utmost to secure the future of a group of stores in the Haldanes estate."