COUNCIL chiefs and politicians have expressed disappointment over the scrapping of eight planned Tesco stores in Scotland.
The supermarket giant has announced that 43 UK stores will close and plans for 49 new shops have been shelved following poor sales.
Tesco said it will not go ahead with developments in Aviemore, Fort William, Banff, Crieff, Cowdenbeath, East Kilbride and Glasgow.
A planned extension to a store in Cupar has also been cancelled.
Tesco currently has 64 superstores in Scotland and 144 smaller outlets.
Aviemore MP and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said he was “deeply disappointed” by the company’s decision.
He said: “Tesco have long promised another store but these promises now ring hollow in the wake of today’s announcement.
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“As someone who lives in Aviemore, I know how much this new store was needed, not only for the jobs that would be created but also to service the needs of a growing community.
“While Tesco’s store footprint shrinks, other retailers are looking to expand in the Highlands. I will work closely with them to bring the facilities we need to the Highlands.”
Aberdeenshire Council chief executive Colin Mackenzie described the announcement as “hugely disappointing” for the Banff community.
The planned store was tied to leisure and community facilities in Banff and Macduff, he said, which the council expects will still be delivered.
Mr Mackenzie said: “Today’s news will come as a massive disappointment to the people of Banff and Macduff who welcomed a new store for the town.
“Great progress has been made over the last two years on the community consultation and necessary legal agreements to allow us to proceed with the development of the store.
“Tesco have acknowledged that they understand and appreciate the importance of the site to the local community and the council and of their contractual obligations. They are indicating that they are keen to work with us to find a satisfactory way forward.
“It is still our intention to secure the very best outcome for local residents and we remain supportive of the need to improve leisure and community facilities in the Banff and Macduff area. We recognise the positive support we have received from the community during the creation of the new proposals. Over the coming month, we will keep the residents informed of discussions as we consider all options.”
Council leader Jim Gifford said that work undertaken over the past two years would not be wasted.
He added: “The community consultation that we undertook was comprehensive and together we have created proposals for new sports and leisure facilities.
“We remain committed to developing the sports and leisure provision in the area and we will continue to have a constructive dialogue with Tesco.”
Details have yet to be given on the location of the stores Tesco will close and the number of jobs that will be cut.
Consultations will take place with employees in the coming months, the company said.
Tesco shares fell dramatically in 2014, a year which saw a string of profit warnings, the departure of chief executive Philip Clarke and a £263 million accounting scandal.
New boss Dave Lewis said today: “It is with a heavy heart that I am announcing that we are unable to proceed with eight planned new store developments across Scotland.
“Our performance as a business has fallen significantly short of where we would want it to be and my absolute imperative has to be to protect the future of our business for the 300,000 colleagues we employ in communities all over the UK.
“I know that this news will be a real disappointment to many people and we’re extremely grateful for the support we’ve received for each of these projects. I am very aware of the importance of these sites and I am determined that we will work closely with each local authority to find the right solutions for the local community.”
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