Wiltshire

Swindon Morrisons will shut five years after opening, company confirms

Morrisons Regent Circus Image copyright Google
Image caption The Regent Circus store was one of four branches earmarked for closure

Shoppers say they are "devastated" and "annoyed" a town centre supermarket is to shut five years after it opened.

Morrisons has confirmed it will close its Regent Circus store in Swindon, which employs 113 staff, on 3 November.

The store opened in October 2014 as part of a £50m leisure and retail complex designed to regenerate the site of a derelict former college building.

The firm said its decision followed a "comprehensive consultation" with staff.

Shopper Laura Reynolds said: "It's quite inconvenient because I live literally up the road and I'm having a baby in three weeks... I'm a bit devastated to be honest."

Jane Rawlings added: "I'm annoyed considering how new it is. But how downhill the town is going, they're probably just not bringing the money in."

'Massive blow'

Swindon councillor Stan Pajak, who petitioned to keep the store open, said: "This is terrible news and a massive blow to the town centre community and the very viability of the town centre as a shopping destination."

In a email to Mr Pajak, Morrisons said: "We have been heartened by the support shown towards our store colleagues by shoppers and the surrounding community over the past few weeks, however, I can confirm that we will close our Regent Circus store on Sunday 3rd November.

"This decision follows our comprehensive consultation period with store colleagues and union representatives to investigate ways forward for the store."

The firm told the BBC it had "looked at a wide range of options to keep the store open but none gave us confidence that we could run it successfully".

The Regent Circus complex has struggled to compete since it opened, with empty restaurant units remaining, and the closure of a Gourmet Burger Kitchen and a Tiffins Indian buffet earlier in the year.

Dale Heenan, of Swindon Borough Council, said the closure was a "business matter" between Morrisons and its landlord. He added there were "no options" for the council to intervene.

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