Hundreds of jobs under threat in Dearne as Tesco and Cooplands facing tough decisions

Cooplands, High Street, Mexborough. Picture: Marie Caley NSYT 02-02-15 Mexborough Cooplands MC 3
Cooplands, High Street, Mexborough. Picture: Marie Caley NSYT 02-02-15 Mexborough Cooplands MC 3

Hundreds of jobs will be lost after two major supermarket developments were scrapped while a bakery store chain is also facing potential collapse.

A planned £10 million pound supermarket and petrol station near Mexborough Railway Station has been axed with the loss of 250 proposed jobs.

Tesco Metro, High Street, Mexborough. Picture: Marie Caley NSYT 02-02-15 Mexborough Tesco MC 1

Tesco Metro, High Street, Mexborough. Picture: Marie Caley NSYT 02-02-15 Mexborough Tesco MC 1

The hammer blow comes just days after Tesco announced their Metro store, close to the site in Mexborough High Street, will shut with the loss of an additional 55 jobs.

Meanwhile Cooplands – which has several stores across the Dearne including in Mexborough – also revealed it could close and warned of potential job losses.

The triple whammy was described as “disastrous” this week by Mexborough councillor Sue Phillips.

She said: “This is a huge blow. For Mexborough, it is potentially disastrous. The new development would have created much-needed jobs, while the loss of Tesco is very disappointing because it used to bring footfall into the town which will now be lost. And I feel really sorry for the staff at Cooplands.”

Developer Kier Property was granted planning permission in May 2012 to build a supermarket, petrol station and car park on the former United Carpets building site – which was also previously South Yorkshire Times office – in Station Road.

However, the company confirmed this week that the scheme has been scrapped as they could not find a supermarket firm to occupy the site.

A spokeswoman said: “Due to the restructuring by numerous food retailers the occupier we had been pursuing pulled away from investing. Kier had pursued all other retail interest and no further interest was forthcoming. Kier have no further involvement in the site.”

Ownership of the site, which had been cleared of old buildings in anticipation of development, rests with United Carpets.

In addition, the Tesco Metro store in Mexborough town centre will close on April 4. It was included in a list of 43 ‘unprofitable’ stores shutting nationwide. This also includes the superstore in Church View, Doncaster town centre, which will see the loss of 125 staff.

Dave Lewis, chief executive officer for Tesco, said the company’s business performance had “fallen significantly short of where we would want it to be.”

He added: “The decision to close the stores has been exceptionally difficult to take.”

Employees at Cooplands, which has a workforce of 750 staff, have been warned the firm is struggling and a business restructuring specialist has taken over in a last ditch attempt to turn around its fortunes.

The company employs 550 staff across its 88 Yorkshire branches and a further 200 at its Doncaster town centre head office in Wharf Road. Dozens of workers are employed at its stores in Mexborough High Street, Conisbrough, Goldthorpe, Thurnscoe and Wath, which could all face the chop.

A letter to staff explained the company lost money last year and has continued to see a decline in sales.

It said: “We have all worked hard over the last 12 months to try and stem the losses but unfortunately everybody’s efforts have been in vain.”

It adds the business “cannot sustain its current cost base” and “We now therefore have to consider the loss of job roles across all areas of the business.”

Documents go on to say Cooplands was bought by Resolve which is reviewing the business. It states options for the future include finding a buyer, the business becoming smaller, or closure. All options are understood to include job losses.

A member of staff, who did not want to be named, said: “We have been told that the first redundancies will be on about March 3. It’s all been hushed up.”

Shane Sweeting, of trade union Unite, added: “Cooplands was a trademark of Doncaster, it’s been a substantial employer in the town for years and it’s a shame that this has happened.”

Senior officials at Cooplands and Mark Supperstone, a partner at Resolve, declined to comment.