Sainsbury’s confirms it is to close Whitgift Centre store

CROYDON IN CRISIS: Supermarket chain says it was a ‘difficult decision’ to close flagship shop – but at least they have five higher-profit ‘Local’ shops nearby. EXCLUSIVE by STEVEN DOWNES

‘Difficult decision’: Sainsbury’s says the closure came after a routine review of its estate

Britain’s second-largest chain of supermarkets has admitted that it can no longer justify running a branch in Croydon’s Whitgift Centre.

A spokesperson for Sainsbury’s has confirmed Inside Croydon’s exclusive report that it is to close its Whitgift Centre store.

This website understands that the final day’s trading will be in September, the closure following what sources at the supermarket chain say was a regular “review of our property estate” and based on “a range of factors”.

Sainsbury’s has been an ever-present at the Whitgift Centre since 1969. When it opened 54 years ago, it was the chain’s biggest supermarket in the country.

But the Whitgift Centre has been blighted by more than a decade of neglect and uncertainty over future development plans from Westfield, who were brought into Croydon in 2012 by the then landowners, the Whitgift Foundation.

Westfield have produced two separate planning applications for a chunk of the town centre that includes the Whitgift Centre and Centrale, on the other side of North End. The second scheme was passed following a public inquiry conducted by the Planning Inspector, and saw Croydon Council, as the local planning authority, invest huge amounts of time, money and reputational capital in delivering a Compulsory Purchase Order for the developers that has never been actioned.

After the two schemes stalled, Westfield more recently bought out Centrale owners Hammerson, while they have also been ordered to pay a fine of £5million by the council for their slow progress.

Westfield have promised to draw up a “masterplan” for the area (another one), before the end of this year.

But for existing traders, such as Sainsbury’s, the run-down Whitgift Centre has become an off-putting place for potential customers, and footfall has failed to recover since the covid pandemic.

Council sources fear that Sainsbury’s closure will accelerate what has until now been a steady exodus of store operators, as the number of customers visiting declines ever more.

As iC reported yesterday, a large part of Sainsbury’s decision is based on their bottom-line: they have five of their “Local” stores within a mile or so of the Whitgift Centre, all of which offer customers convenience store opening times, but at higher prices.

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson told Inside Croydon: “We are currently talking to our colleagues at our Central Croydon superstore in the Whitgift Centre, which we have made the difficult decision to close.

“We understand this will be an unsettling time for those affected and we are supporting them in every way we can. This includes exploring alternative roles for colleagues within Sainsbury’s.

“Customers will continue to be able to shop with us at a number of nearby Sainsbury’s stores, including our West Croydon Station Local, George Streel Local and Croydon High Street Local stores.

“The decision to close a store is never taken lightly.”

  • If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, or want to publicise your residents’ association or business, or if you have a local event to promote, please email us with full details at
  • As featured on Google News Showcase
  • Our comments section on every report provides all readers with an immediate “right of reply” on all our content
  • ROTTEN BOROUGH AWARDS: Croydon was named among the country’s rottenest boroughs for a SIXTH successive year in 2022 in the annual round-up of civic cock-ups in Private Eye magazine

About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
This entry was posted in "Hammersfield", Business, Centrale, Planning, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, Whitgift Centre and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Sainsbury’s confirms it is to close Whitgift Centre store

  1. Ian Kierans says:

    It is good to have some confirmation I heard a rumour it was early October. I also heard there were very few vacancies at the local stores. Therefore more redundancies.
    In Croydon we are now in the situation where there is no main Supermarket in the vicinity of the town centre.

    Surpisingly Lidl have won the supermarket wars by default. They are not cheap as they like to make out either and customer service is dire to non existant.
    I am disapointed by Sainsbury’s response, but do understand their position.
    One thing I do not like is the referral to local stores. All three stores have little space and do not stock a lot of items. They are also a lot more expensive to shop at.

    But can anyone blame Sainsbury’s?
    Most of us that shopped there saw people stealing. There were regular incidents with professional shoplifters.

    To operate in Croydon under this Councils decisions means having to pay more for everything and then have goods nicked, stores damaged, and overwhelming anti social behaviours from many people. Even Marks has more security and many stores only maintain one or two exits to reduce the need to man doors with security.

    Both Sainsbury’s and Marks have mostly very good security guards that have an uneviable job in this town centre.

    Bid Rangers? Yep a band aid on an arterial bleed.!

    • Anthony Miller says:

      They do seem to have stepped up security a lot in some stores…. Woe betide any shopper who fails to show their receipt to the electronic gate in Purley Way Sainsbury’s these days …they are kept illegally captive until they can satisfy the Lazer of Letting You Out… and have to vault the steel fence before they can make a run for it…. While above the self service tills portrait LCD screens remind us that (as Game for A Laugh used to say) they’re watching us watching you watching us watch you… As for the booze aisles some have flat screen TVs in the air to rub the message in… Don’t mess with the customer service lady either … she’s got a bodycam name tag…

  2. C Cooper says:

    As Croydon sinks slowly in the West (South, Central and East!) all the wise rats are jumping ship!

Leave a Reply