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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 May, 2004, 11:49 GMT 12:49 UK
Job cuts in Somerfield shake-up
Somerfield supermarket
The company said about 400 jobs will be lost
The supermarket chain Somerfield has announced plans to drop its Kwik Save brand in Scotland with the loss of about 400 jobs.

The company said 29 of the Kwik Save stores will be renamed Somerfield outlets and a further 22 will be closed by the end of the year.

Kwik Save's depot in East Kilbride will also be shut down.

Somerfield said the move was necessary "to meet the challenge of today's competitive market place".

A spokesman said it hoped to find work for about 150 store workers affected by the changes.

Management had decided to focus investment in the Somerfield brand and the recently acquired Mace convenience store chain.

The spokesman said: "After careful consideration, we have regretfully concluded there are 22 Kwik Save stores which are not suitable for conversion to Somerfield and are not economically viable.

This news will have a huge impact on our members and local communities

"The stores will be closed by the end of the year."

Somerfield group said it would seek to relocate as many staff from the closing Kwik Save stores to other stores, but admitted "some redundancies are inevitable".

Stores in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Stirling, Dundee, Dumfries, Oban, Kilmarnock and Kirkcaldy are among those to be axed.

With the closure of the East Kilbride depot, Somerfield's Scottish distribution will be handled from its logistics partner Wincanton's regional distribution centre in Pitreavie.

The Kwik Save brand will continue to operate in England and Wales.

Best packages

The shopworkers' union Usdaw expressed shock at the announcement.

Joanne McGuinness, Usdaw national officer, said: "This restructuring exercise is likely to lead to the loss of hundreds of jobs in Scotland. This news will have a huge impact on our members and local communities.

"At this early stage, the importance is to ensure all workers are kept fully informed of the plans so they can make informed decisions. Our emphasis will be on protecting as many jobs as possible. Where jobs must go, Usdaw will want the best packages for our members.

"We will urge the Somerfield Group to explore all options for the 22 stores to close. That could include a sale of the sites, many of which are in prime locations, to other supermarket chains."

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