Lakes & Dales Co-operative which was formed following the merger of Penrith Co-operative and Scotmid has announced plans for its stores in Penrith, Keswick, Lazonby, Shap and Hallbankgate.
At the time of the merger over a year ago Scotmid Co-operative made a commitment that they would work with their staff, members and customers to understand the store estate before making any decisions about their future.
Malcolm Brown, Head of Corporate Communications at Scotmid said, “We recognised immediately that Hallbankgate had low turnover and was struggling and communicated that Penrith non- foods furniture offering was not part of Scotmid’s future strategy.
“However, despite this we gave a commitment that we would trade the two stores for over a year to gain that understanding and see if we could turn them around. This unfortunately has not been possible and therefore, we have taken the following decisions;
1. Penrith non-foods (furniture) will continue to operate as normal but plans are now being put in place to close this part of the store on or before 28 February, 2015.
2. It is our intention to market Hallbankgate as a going concern. This means that going forward we do not see the store as part of our future plans. We will keep our staff fully briefed on the progress of the marketing of the stores. In the meantime the store will remain open as normal.
“Over the past year our initial impression that the core estate of Penrith Co-operative had real potential for growth was confirmed. Very quickly we redeveloped Lazonby and Keswick and made a commitment to identify opportunities for future development and opportunities.
“Our continuing commitment and investment in the area is further enhanced with the announcement that Shap will be fully refitted and rebranded (Lakes &Dales) this December and Penrith Food store will also be fully fitted and rebranded (Lakes &Dales) in the first quarter of 2015.
“It has also become clear to us that the Community Grant Scheme that we introduced is proving extremely popular and we intend to increase our community involvement working with our members and customers to seek out even more opportunities for future community initiatives. Further announcements on new initiatives will come next month in our member’s magazine Jigsaw.
“We would like to thank all our staff in the above stores for their continued hard work and commitment. The Society will of course support our colleagues directly impacted by the above changes.
“Going forward our focus is ensuring we build and grow a profitable business which will be fully committed to the communities that we serve. “