It appears the Torquay and Teignmouth branches of Waitrose won’t be empty for long after they close this summer.
Waitrose & Partners dropped a bombshell yesterday when it confirmed that they are pulling out of the seaside towns after struggling to find a away to make each branch “commercially sustainable.”
In its announcement, the high-end supermarket chain confirmed that it had already sold the two sites “to another retailer.”
German chain Lidl is rumoured to be the retailer in question, reportedly adding them to its roster of more than 10,000 branches across Europe and the US.
The budget supermarket giant has been mentioned countless times on social media in relation to the sale. The chain has also opened a brand new branch nearby in Paignton.
We approached Lidl for more, but they are unable to comment on the matter.
Waitrose Torquay and Waitrose Teignmouth will close for good on Sunday, June 9 2019.
It means the closest branches for shoppers in South Devon will be Exeter, off Heavitree Road, and Okehampton, at School Way.
Everything Waitrose said
A spokesperson for Waitrose & Partners told Devon Live yesterday: “We can confirm that we have exchanged contracts to sell our Waitrose shops in Teignmouth and Torquay to another retailer, which regrettably means we will close there on June 9.
“The acquiring party has informed us that they will be undertaking works to both units for an extended period of time with plans likely to be shared at a later date.
“We will be meeting with the 111 Partners who work at Teignmouth and 96 Partners who work at Torquay to ensure they are fully supported and will identify suitable opportunities for those wishing to remain with the business wherever possible.”
Waitrose & Partners Regional Manager, Krys Jantzen: “We have taken great pride in being part of the Teignmouth and Torquay communities so the sale of these shops is not something we take lightly, but we have sadly not been able to find a way to make the stores commercially sustainable in the long-term.
“Our priority is our Partners working in these shops who will be fully supported throughout the process and we will identify opportunities for those wishing to remain with the business wherever possible.”
Cllr Sylvia Russell, a Teignmouth councillor who is Executive lead for Health and Wellbeing on Teignbridge Council, said: “It is devastating and I think they are making the wrong business decision.
“There’s so much going on in Teignmouth and they’ve only got to look at the local plan to see how much Teignbridge is expanding, if only they would look further than the end of their noses. I hope they will reconsider,” she said.
She said that the Waitrose brand is ‘set apart’ from other supermarkets.
In Torquay, Susie Colley, Chairman of Torquay Chamber of Commerce described the loss as a blow for the town.
“If Waitrose has lost confidence then that’s a bad omen for Torquay.
“When Waitrose opened it lifted the whole demeanour of Plainmoor, they kept the place nice and tidy and it attracted well heeled people from all around to shop there.
“I’m not sure any other supermarket would have the same effect.”
At the Hair Royale salon opposite Waitrose Torquay, Chris Cotton and Nina Chadwick were shocked by the news.
Chris said: “I had no idea it was closing. We use Waitrose daily and it brings in a lot of business – I’ve had two customers today who came out of there and saw us.
“We were always surprised how well that Waitrose did over there. It bought a group of Somerfield supermarkets and this one out-performed all the other smaller Waitroses we were told.”
Kevin Martin, who lives in nearby Bronshill Road, was totally shocked by the news as he left Waitrose. He said: “Wow! Wow! I always come here. I’m in shock. I can’t believe it’s shutting. It’s always busy. But I must admit I’ve always said it’s too posh for Plainmoor.”