The cry went out from horrified shoppers all across Croydon: “But where am I to get my lemongrass?”
Waitrose, the supermarket of choice for all those eager young professionals paying over-the-odds for “executive apartments” in Croydon town centre, this morning confirmed its plan to close its store on George Street, subject to consultation with those working there. Around 70 jobs will be lost.
The closure of the large store puts yet another gaping hole in Croydon Council’s policy of regenerating the dilapidated and run-down town centre, with Mayor Jason Perry gormlessly still expressing a desire to deal with the same Westfield developers who have broken every promise made to Croydon over the past decade.
Waitrose can have few complaints about lack of customer footfall for its Croydon shop, sited close to East Croydon Station between Boxpark and Macdonald’s.
It will close its doors on George Street for a final time on November 12. It is one of two store closures (the other being in Newcastle) announced by the business yesterday.
“We have found trading challenging here in the last few years and, despite the best efforts of Partners, we have not been able to find a way to make the shop profitable in the long-term,” a Waitrose spokesperson told Inside Croydon.
The store has 70 staff – or Partners, as Waitrose and John Lewis call their employees.
“If the proposed closure goes ahead, every effort will be made to find new roles for those who wish to remain within the Partnership,” the spokesperson said.
“Opportunities will include transferring to local Waitrose shops or working for johnlewis.com and waitrose.com.”
The closure marks the complete exiting of central Croydon by John Lewis. They closed their At Home store on Purley Way in 2020.
All suggestions of John Lewis and Waitrose becoming anchor tenants, in the old Allders building, as part of the Westfield redevelopment of the town centre, were abandoned some time ago.
Waitrose have traded on George Street since around 2009, taking over the site from what had previously been a Safeway supermarket.
Today, James Allen, the head of retail for Waitrose, said: “We appreciate that this is incredibly difficult news for our Croydon Partners and customers.
“We have taken great pride in being part of the community, so the proposed closure is not something we take lightly and without having looked at all the alternatives.
“I am extremely grateful for the hard work and dedication shown by all our Partners working there and we will do everything we can to support them through this challenging time.”
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