Asda’s sale of surplus Netto stores: who gets what in the North East

Netto store in Gateshead. Photograph by Graham Soult

Netto store in Gateshead

As I blogged earlier, Asda’s acquisition of Netto’s UK business moved a step closer yesterday, with the news that it has reached agreement to sell most of those Netto stores that overlap with existing Asda sites.

Back in May, when Dansk Supermarked A/S agreed to sell its 194 UK Netto stores to Asda for £778m, it was widely expected that the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) would require Asda to divest some of that portfolio, in order to avoid a lessening of local competition in areas where Asda and Netto are currently both represented.

Asda store. Photograph by Graham Soult

Asda store

This was confirmed in September, when the OFT announced that it had reached agreement with Asda to divest 47 stores where there were local competition concerns. Of these, the OFT was concerned that some stores may not be of interest to other eligible food retailers, so required Asda to find suitable upfront buyers for those shops before it would allow the remaining store purchases to proceed. At the time, however, “reasons of confidentiality” meant that the identity of the 47 stores to be divested was not revealed; similarly, the number or locations of stores requiring upfront purchasers were not made public either.

Now, yesterday’s various announcements from the parties concerned reveal that Asda has secured buyers for 39 of the 47 divestment stores – including all 25 of those on the upfront list – in the shape of Morrisons, Iceland and the independent grocer Haldanes.

Morrisons – 16 stores

Morrisons store. Photograph by Graham Soult

Morrisons store

Morrisons is snapping up 16 of the 39 stores – including 6 from the upfront list – for £28.1m, adding 120,000 sq ft of space to its expanding small-store estate. The handover of stores is expected to take place on a phased basis starting in March, with all the shops expected to be converted to the Morrisons format over the following three months.

Several of these stores – in Castletown (Sunderland), Bedlington and Shildon – are in the North East, while others are in Telford, Tamworth, Rugby, West Bromwich, Oldbury, Boston, Newton-le-Willows, Breightmet (Bolton), Accrington, Castleford, Ravensthorpe (Dewsbury), Armthorpe (Doncaster) and Bransholme (Hull).

Haldanes – 20 stores

Haldanes store. Photograph by Graham Soult

Haldanes store

The independent Grantham-based grocer Haldanes is taking a tranche of 20 stores – all but two from the OFT’s upfront list of 25 stores – including North East sites in Ashington, Eston, Hartlepool and Stanley. The other sites to be taken over by Haldanes include Athersley (Barnsley), Blackburn, Boothferry, Bradford, Carcroft (Doncaster), Hull (two stores), Kirkby, Liverpool, Lundwood (Barnsley), Monk Bretton (Barnsley), Nuneaton, Retford and Rotherham, all from the upfront list, plus one each in Bury and Burnley.

Only last week, I remarked that Haldanes’ expansion seemed to have stalled, after an initial period of rapid and spectacular growth. Only launched as a company [broken link removed] in October 2009, the business built up its present portfolio of 23 former Somerfield or Co-op stores over a dizzying two-month period, but there had been no new supermarket acquisitions since January last year [broken link removed]. Indeed, the swift closure of acquired stores in Pontefract and Dunbar, the failure to open the shop it bought in Pwllheli, and reported trading difficulties had all raised question marks over the business’s ability to compete in the UK’s cutthroat supermarket sector.

However, after a quiet few months, this latest acquisition suggests that Haldanes is back on track – good news given that the recent history of the UK grocery sector has tended to involve smaller retailers disappearing through acquisition or collapse, rather than new competitors entering the market and keeping the established players on their toes.

Interestingly, the OFT notes that Haldanes plans to convert the acquired stores to a new discount brand, UGO, which will reportedly “build on the discount retailing strengths of Netto but will also have stronger and broader core grocery range together with a much wider health and beauty offer.” Given that many of the stores on the OFT’s upfront list are, by definition, in less glamorous locations, Haldanes’ move seems like the right approach, and should avoid a repeat of when Somerfield scared away Kwik Save shoppers by converting stores to its eponymous – and more expensive – fascia.

Iceland – 3 stores

Iceland store. Photograph by Graham Soult

Iceland store

Iceland’s package of three stores includes just one from the upfront list, in Platt Bridge, Wigan. Iceland’s marketing department tells me that the two others are in Spennymoor, up here in County Durham, and at Lane Top in Sheffield.

What it all means

Netto in North Shields. Photograph by Graham Soult

Netto in North Shields

So, what does all this mean for the UK’s grocery sector, and for the consumers who shop at those stores?

What’s clear is that the Netto brand will have vanished from the UK by the end of this year, though it will remain elsewhere in Europe – Dansk Supermarked is only selling its British stores, not those in Denmark, Germany or Poland. The 147 Netto stores that Asda is keeping are set to be rebranded as ‘Asda Supermarket’, while Morrisons, Haldanes (UGO) and Iceland will all convert their acquired stores to their own fascias.

Existing Asda in Seaham. Photograph by Graham Soult

Existing Asda in Seaham

Shoppers will no doubt welcome the news that Asda’s converted Nettos will charge the same prices as all existing Asdas, and will feature an average range of 10,000 products – up from Netto’s 1,800. However, some of those who currently use Netto on a regular basis will surely feel some sadness at the loss of its distinctive shopping experience and eyecatching offers.

As noted above, Haldanes’ new UGO stores look likely to be the closest thing to a ‘son of Netto’, presumably combining the best facets of Netto with Haldanes’ own experience of running compact supermarkets over the past year or so.

Given the strong North East presence, it will be fascinating to see what the UGO stores look like, and how they fare. While operating multiple fascias can be a really successful way of targeting different market segments – not just in the grocery sector – it can be a disaster if the execution is poor or the differentiation unclear.

Haldanes store. Photograph by Graham Soult

Haldanes store

Indeed, Haldanes tells me that the company is about to launch a third fascia – Haldanes Xpress – which will be applied to a newly acquired petrol forecourt, a convenience store with a post office, and a further eight convenience stores that Haldanes is in “advanced discussions” to buy.

For Iceland, the three new stores represent a modest acquisition for a company that has snapped up well over 50 old Woolworths sites during the past two years, and perhaps suggests that, having reached nearly 800 shops, the number of suitable new sites for Iceland stores is starting to slow.

For Morrisons, however, its purchase signals a determination to make further inroads into the lucrative small supermarket and convenience space. It’s easy to forget that only six years ago, Morrisons had little interest in smaller stores, selling a package of 114 Safeway Compact stores to Somerfield for £260m. Ironically, Co-op’s takeover of Somerfield meant that many of those former Safeways were later resold where they overlapped with existing Co-op sites. In some locations – such as Birtley in Gateshead – Morrisons actually bought back sites that it had disposed of only a few years earlier.

Sainsburys Local store. Photograph by Graham Soult

Sainsburys Local store

Nevertheless, with Sainsbury’s and Tesco having already built up their successful small-store estates over many years, and Asda acquiring a strong presence in one fell swoop through its Netto acquisition, Morrisons has a fair bit of catching up to do.

Back in November, there were highly unlikely rumours – seemingly without foundation – about Morrisons planning a takeover bid for the upmarket online grocer Ocado. While Morrisons may be wary of any more major acquisitions after the problems it had digesting Safeway, I would have thought that snapping up a smaller competitor – as Asda has done with Netto – would be a more likely takeover scenario.

A few moments ago I mentioned the former Safeway and Somerfield store in Birtley, in Tyne and Wear, which Morrisons took over in 2009. Unfortunately, Morrisons then decided that it had no use for the site, which has remained vacant ever since and is now being marketed as part of a larger potential development site.

Asda at Washington Galleries. Photograph by Graham Soult

Asda at Washington Galleries

This development has left Netto as Birtley town centre’s only supermarket. However, this store, in turn, is one the eight remaining Netto stores that the OFT is requiring Asda to dispose of, presumably due to the proximity of the huge Asda store – the old Woolco – at Washington Galleries.

Just like in Wallsend – where another store acquired by Morrisons has never opened – Birtley has undoubtedly and understandably suffered from the unexpected closure of its main supermarket. Hopefully a purchaser for the Netto store will be announced soon – after the disappointment and uncertainty of the last couple of years, Birtley surely deserves a food retailer that will invest in the town, and give the locals reassurance that they’ll still have somewhere to shop.

74 Responses to “Asda’s sale of surplus Netto stores: who gets what in the North East”

  1. Tweets that mention Soult's Retail View » Blog Archive » Asda’s sale of surplus Netto stores: who gets what in the North East -- said:

    Jan 14, 11 at 09:40

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by adullam Limited, Graham Soult. Graham Soult said: New retail blog post – Asda's sale of surplus Netto stores: who gets what in the North East – #li [...]

  2. Alex said:

    Jan 16, 11 at 22:04

    Any ideas whats going to happen to the Gateshead (Felling) Netto? Is that going to become an Asda?

  3. Graham Soult said:

    Jan 16, 11 at 22:25

    Hi Alex, that’s the St James’ Village (Old Fold Road) one, right? It isn’t on the list of disposals, so my understanding is that it will indeed be converted to an Asda. Obviously the Asdas at Gosforth, MetroCentre, Washington, Boldon, South Shields, etc. are all deemed by the OFT to be far enough away!

  4. Robert Gledhill said:

    Jan 19, 11 at 13:56

    What we getting in North Shields? is the river enough to get us an Asda? Cheers

  5. Graham Soult said:

    Jan 19, 11 at 14:21

    Hi Robert,
    North Shields isn’t one of the stores that Asda is required to dispose of, so yes, it should become an Asda. Some enhanced competition for the Co-op I suspect!

  6. Steve Dresser said:

    Jan 23, 11 at 15:02

    With the recent purchases by Morrisons in Bromwich and Bolton from Netto/Asda being ex Safeway stores (ironically sold by Morrisons in 2005) it’s to be expected that these empty stores may well be given the kiss of life and return as compact supermarkets / convenience, especially as Morrisons seem to have overcome their adversity to the smaller format and think they have the methodology to work.

    Northallerton is a prime example of a store that was closed post Safeway acquisition then opened with the smaller format that they did avoid due to the concerns over the fresh food offer and size.

  7. Graham Soult said:

    Jan 23, 11 at 17:01

    Out of interest, Steve, do you have a figure for how many Safeway stores Morrisons has subsequently bought back, having disposed of them previously? Like Northallerton that you mention, I know there are others (e.g. Streatham) where Morrisons initially closed the stores then reopened them, but never actually sold them to anyone else in the meantime.

  8. Soult's Retail View » Haldanes pledges that UGO will be “the icing on the Netto cake” said:

    Jan 25, 11 at 18:03

    [...] my recent post about Asda’s divestment of 39 surplus Netto stores, I had the pleasure of being invited to  my first press conference last Friday, in [...]

  9. Soult's Retail View » Haldanes not ruling out purchase of “great” Netto Birtley store said:

    Jan 25, 11 at 20:23

    [...] Asda’s sale of 39 surplus Netto stores was announced a couple of weeks ago, I noted that Birtley – a small town close to here, within the Borough of Gateshead – was home to one of the [...]

  10. J said:

    Feb 02, 11 at 10:16

    Netto Gosforth

    Any idea’s what will happen to this gem of a store. It’s my nearest supermarket and always been a very good Netto but it’s only a 10 minute walk from the huge 24 hour Asda on Gosforth High Street

  11. Graham Soult said:

    Feb 02, 11 at 10:30

    Hi J, I take it you’re referring to the quite new Netto in Wansbeck Road South, on the site of the old Kwik Save (later FreshXpress)?

    Oddly, it’s not on the list of divestment stores, so presumably it will be turning into an Asda. Just as was the case with the Co-op/Somerfield merger, you can end up with some stores whose retention or disposal seems counterintuitive.

    I think the extent of existing competition from other food retailers is part of the formula that the OFT uses, and this would presumably flag up Tesco Kingston Park, Sainsbury’s Gosforth and Morrisons Cowgate as all providing competition for the soon-to-be-two Asdas.

  12. J said:

    Feb 02, 11 at 11:20

    Yes, I am only 2 minutes away from it and pop in 2-3 times a week. It will be sorely missed, because I, like many living near it use it as our day to day store and use Asda or Sainsburys to acquire the more specialised items. It can’t be beaten for vegetables, cat food and daily essentials which are much cheaper than Asda. It’ll be a sad day when we have 2 Asda’s in such close proximity. One is at the west of Regent Farm Avenue and the other will be the east of Regent Farm Avenue. I was secretly hoping for Lidl

  13. Graham Soult said:

    Feb 02, 11 at 11:25

    I know what you mean! I often alternate shopping between Waitrose and Aldi, and they’re both good for different things.

  14. J said:

    Feb 02, 11 at 11:37

    Yes. The Wansbeck Road store is already being run down with stock, something you may not be aware of. You can no longer buy Netto’s branded dishwasher tablets or their own Majestic cat food brands. Many lines have “discontinued” listed on the shelf. It looks as though they’ve already stopped trading with certain suppliers in preparation to the change over and only last week they were selling Surf washing liquid in a display using Asda’s red background and yellow distinctive font

  15. Chris Smith said:

    Feb 17, 11 at 10:26

    Anyknow about the stores in Cumbria.

  16. Graham Soult said:

    Feb 17, 11 at 10:44

    Hi Chris – all the stores that have been bought by Haldanes, Iceland or Morrisons are mentioned on this page, none of which are in Cumbria.

    Barrow in Furness is on the divestment list, but as far as I’m aware has not been sold to another retailer yet. In the meantime, Asda is required to keep it open.

    Workington, Whitehaven and Carlisle will all be converted to Asda!

  17. Steve Dresser said:

    Feb 28, 11 at 23:15

    There are the two within the buybacks at Bolton and West Bromwich that are buybacks from Safeway sales to Netto, possibly sold with a decent number of staff, then trimmed to 15 or so and now ‘job creation’ up to 40 perhaps?

    Streatham like Northallerton were just left without a buyer and then Marc Bolland had a look and they decided to reopen them as they went ‘national to nationwide’, same with the Westgate John Street Bradford store that was earmarked for disposal (heritage Morrisons but a poor size and very old) but it was given a lease of life and had a refit last year.

    I’m working on the store list from 2003 at the minute that I procured and with a number of sources should be able to draw up what’s happened with the estate – IE who lives where and what was taken on, disposed and what it is now, calling on a few sources like Google and former directories etc.

    It’s strange that the push into smaller stores happens as Morrisons flogged the tranche of 114 to Somerfield, it the takeover was today I wonder how many they’d retain? Not too many over the 52 that were required by legislation I’d level.

    Also the Netto stores are earmarked for the smaller store format and will be run as that and not convenience which is at odds with what was originally thought, I’m told there are 3 sites that are ‘goers’ in Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester but then I saw another mention that there were 6 possible sites in Bradford?

  18. Steve Dresser said:

    Feb 28, 11 at 23:16

    Have a look for the plans on your local council website searching ‘Netto’ or ‘Asda’ and that should pull up if a planning application has been submitted and their plans – some will be rebadged with new signage whereas others may have rebuilds, extensions or an ATM and new refrigeration plants fitted.

  19. Graham Soult said:

    Feb 28, 11 at 23:23

    Fascinating! I’m going to Northallerton tomorrow, so will check out the Morrisons store there (along with two ex-Woolies sites, naturally).

    The store list sounds like a really interesting idea, and is something I’ve often thought would be fascinating to undertake. I imagine a majority of the 114 stores have had a fairly straightforward progression from Safeway –> Morrisons (owned by but not always branded as) –> Somerfield –> The Co-operative Food, but I suspect there are some ex-Safeways that have been through four or five different fascias in barely as many years.

  20. Steve Dresser said:

    Mar 01, 11 at 07:31

    That remains the only challenge, the different fascias that have gone on – for example many that were Somerfield were then CoOp (in ownership alone) before being sold due to unsuitability.

    There were some that were swapped, so the Ripon store in the centre of town was a Morrisons then they decided to take the out of town Safeway and sold their store to Sainsbury’s.

    It’s for the Morrisons stuff I’m working on to see what the stores that they got rid of became. More relevant now considering they are making a push into convenience but I firmly think Ken got it right in 2003, they couldnt do smaller stores so were right to sell them off.

    There was a lot of criticism in those days about the sell offs being far more than was legally required but with anything you inerit agreements that aren’t suitable and to read Ken’s thoughts from those days – Safeway was a wreck of a business really.

    I shall send on the data once completed for a viewing!
    Some of the stores were woeful though, there’s one in Birtley that was Safeway now Somerfield and according to Google Maps that’s now empty (boarded up).

  21. Graham Soult said:

    Mar 01, 11 at 07:33

    Yes, Birtley’s near here – there’s a pic and some discussion at!

  22. Alex said:

    Mar 21, 11 at 14:37

    Just noticed a planning application (ref: DC/11/00259/FUL) at the Felling Netto regarding ‘Installation of new refrigeration plant within secure fenced area to north of store and installation of automated teller machine (ATM) on west elevation’, applicant ‘Asda’.

    Looks like the Felling store is becoming an Asda.

  23. Graham Soult said:

    Mar 21, 11 at 14:42

    Makes sense! Asda’s conversions are due to kick off any time, and this is a good, modern store that’s not on the disposals list. It will be interesting to see what a small Asda’s like when it’s finished.

  24. Chris Lewis said:

    Mar 29, 11 at 19:27

    What about the Shildon site. any news on there?

  25. Graham Soult said:

    Mar 29, 11 at 19:35

    See my post, above! :) It’s becoming Morrisons, but I’m not clear about the timescale. Haldanes is converting its acquired Netto stores to UGO over April and May, so I’d imagine that Morrisons’ timescale may be a little longer, given the more extensive conversion that will take place.

  26. Ian Swindall said:

    Apr 13, 11 at 21:11

    I can name a few more ex-Safeway stores that have been bought back by Morrisons (all in the Co-op/Somerfield sell-off). Larkfield, nr Maidstone; Brighton, St James St; Camberwell Green; and Southwark. It will be interesting to find out what happens to Birtley to see if the proposed sale is just a smoke screen to agree a value for the Gateshead Council’s works unit with Morrisons building a new store in due course.

  27. Ian Swindall said:

    Apr 15, 11 at 21:21

    You need to add in my previous post, Banchory and Dunoon to the list of ex-Safeway stores now in Morrisons hands. The other ex-Safeway that whilst never sold has been re-opened is Blandford Forum.

  28. Graham Soult said:

    Apr 17, 11 at 21:04

    Thanks Ian! There are more than you might think, aren’t there?

  29. george wilson said:

    May 01, 11 at 09:43

    You say Haldanes new Ugo stores will be like old Netto from my experiance of the store in Eston,Middlesbrough converted weekend 23-25 Aprill 2011 the prices have shot up the range of goods is poor and staff not very happy maybe its early days who knows

  30. Graham Soult said:

    May 01, 11 at 09:47

    Thanks George – interesting comments. I haven’t got down to a live UGO store yet, but will check out one of the North East ones ASAP.

  31. Retrogadget said:

    May 06, 11 at 23:50

    Been a bit of action down here in the Midlands regarding Netto stores. The Nuneaton store has had its signage removed, although as of last Saturday (April 30th) it was still open for business. Been by the Tamworth store this evening (May 6th) and it’s closed and in the process of being refitted to a Morrisons, due to open on May 30th. The Coalville store was still trading as normal as of last week, I understand that’s going to become an Asda.

  32. Graham Soult said:

    May 07, 11 at 09:52

    Nuneaton’s one of the ones that’s going to become (or may already have come by now) a UGO, which I blogged about in detail before. I’d be interested in hearing what you think of it if you get chance to visit!

  33. Soult's Retail View » Will UGO back? Checking out Britain’s newest supermarket chain said:

    May 08, 11 at 12:54

    [...] Commenting on my blog last week, George Wilson remarked that the staff in the Eston store appeared “not very happy” when he’d recently visited, so I was particularly curious to assess the quality of both stores’ customer service. [...]

  34. Danny Bent said:

    May 09, 11 at 14:10

    With regard to Graham Soult about Morrisons buying back ex-Safeway Stores. Brighton needs to be added to the list as this has traded as Safeway then Somerfield and now Morrisons

    There are still some ex-Safeway Stores in London which are still closed.

    Also noteworthy is Tunbridge Wells which briefly traded as a Morrisons store before shutting down.

  35. Steve Dresser said:

    May 09, 11 at 14:39

    It may well be that Morrisons retain the lease on these stores and look to re-open them.

    Wimbledon was one under confusion for a while before conversion, the plan is to work through the current estate on a spreadsheet and track who owns what as many will have had 4/5 owners due to Somerfield / Netto disappearing from our high streets.

  36. Graham Soult said:

    May 09, 11 at 14:42

    Hopefully the comments here will be of some use in your spreadsheet endeavours, Steve!

  37. Steve Dresser said:

    May 09, 11 at 18:50

    Yes, brilliant comments here, interesting that they have ended up buying them back though.

    Any news on the Birtley store / development at the minute?

  38. Graham Soult said:

    May 09, 11 at 18:53

    Not that I’m aware of! I keep checking for any news, but there seems to be nothing yet. I don’t know why UGO don’t snap it up, as it’s a much nicer store than the Eston one! :)

  39. Danny Bent said:

    May 10, 11 at 09:47

    The Netto store in Strood (Kent) previously traded as a Safeway but Morrisons shut this store and built a much larger purpose built store nearby. As far as I know this ex-Safeway was split up with Wilkinsons and Netto having about half each.

    Whether Asda, which is taking on this store soon will be taking over the Wilkinsons part also is not known.

  40. Ian said:

    May 23, 11 at 20:48

    I picked up a leaflet today in the Gateshead Old Fold store – Netto will be closing on 11th June and re-opening as Asda on the 28th June at 10am. It can only be a good thing; I’m looking forward to having a bakery counter on my doorstep!

  41. Danny Bent said:

    May 24, 11 at 10:24

    Regarding former Safeway Stores.

    In Beverley, East Yorkshire before 2004 there used to be
    two Safeway Stores plus a Morrisons.
    Morrisons therefore sold the two Safeway stores off-
    One became Netto and the other Marks and Spencer.
    I would presume the Netto one will soon be an ASDA

  42. Eddie Geraint said:

    May 25, 11 at 14:13

    Can you clarify what’s likely to happen in Keighley then? -The next nearest supermarket to Netto’s is… Asda (and that was built from scratch and only opened about 2 years ago).

    The thing is, I can think of 2 of my favoured products: Imperial Leather ‘original’ anti-perspirant deodorant, and Colgate Oxygen toothpaste, that I can’t seem to find on sale at any other supermarket (and what’s more they only cost about

  43. Gabriella Coscia said:

    Jun 03, 11 at 12:47

    Tunbridge Wells Safeway did trade as Morrisons but like Canterbury City Centre’s Safeway was closed and deemed unviable for the Morrisons Format. Tunbridge Wells remained closed and for sale through Morrisons retained agents Rapley’s and Canterbury’s was sold to Aldi who subdivided the store and the first floor in to offices retaining 6 staff to man a shop that previously had 180 staff. Aldi have now closed in Canterbury and the store is to become a branch of Waitrose with employment for 180 they will also reconvert the offices back to offices for Waitrose and reunify the former Safeway supermarket as one.

    In Tunbridge Wells there is uproar over an empty supermarket eg Morrisons lying empty whilst offers from Asda, Wilkinsons, and Waitrose and Tesco were refused by Morrisons who continue to pay rent yet had the cheek to write to the council asking if they knew of anywhere they could build a Morrisons store.

    Streatham did have a Safeway then Morrisons which did indeed close and lied empty and Morrisons did reopen. Many of the other Safeway stores didn’t reopen and most became Somerfield, Morrisons or in one case were demolished and rebuilt as mixed retail and housing schemes eg Bow.

    Personally I preferred Safeway which competed with Sainsbury’s quite effectively the larger stores that is and think Britain now has too little competition for food retail.

  44. Gabriella Coscia said:

    Jun 03, 11 at 12:52

    And it is a shame about Netto. Netto in Dover Kent is to become Asda’s which is why Asda pulled out of a decision to build a large supermarket as part of town centre regeneration and Ramsgate’s Netto will also become Asda.

    Canterbury’s Netto has been demolished and will become university accommodation for Christ Church College.

    Other than that I don’t know of many other Netto’s but it seems due to the nature of the retail market in food, even Aldi and Lidl have closed branches with Aldi closing in Canterbury and Lidl having closed in Dover in the recent past.

    Waitrose however and even Marks and Spencer Simply food seem t be growing quite rapidly in the South East and in London with Waitrose due to open in Canterbury by Christmas in the old Safeway city centre store and M and S having taken new stores in Canterbury in addition to the department store they already have and in Tunbridge Wells where they opened a Home and food store one of three in Britain.

  45. Soult's Retail View » From no sprouts to no claims – an unusual use for an old Safeway said:

    Jun 08, 11 at 16:36

    [...] my January post about the divvying up of Netto’s North East store estate following the chain’s acquisition by Asda, I made passing reference to Birtley’s former [...]

  46. Steve Dresser said:

    Jun 09, 11 at 17:04

    FAO Eddie – Keighley Netto remains on the ‘to sell’ list but no buyer has been found, perhaps due to Keighley’s unique situation of having every food retailer possible (bar Lidl) in about half a mile distance would mean there is no one else to buy the site.

  47. Danny Bent said:

    Jun 11, 11 at 11:38

    With regards to be above comment about Keighley Netto having
    to be sold and finding a buyer.
    Keighley does not have every retailer possible.
    Neither Tesco or Waitrose have a presence in Keighley at present
    so one of these two taking over Netto is possible.

  48. Eddie Geraint said:

    Jun 14, 11 at 17:05

    Thanks for the replies.
    By ‘eck! -to my mind, a Waitrose would sit rather incongruously on that site… Shopacheck have offices upstairs in the same building ;-)

    (Can I get away with such a comment because I live and work in the district?)
    Looks like my best hope personally is that it might turn into a Ugo.

  49. Soult's Retail View » Work starts on converting Tyneside Netto stores to Asda Supermarkets said:

    Jun 15, 11 at 16:54

    [...] than six months after the carve-up of the Netto estate was confirmed, the Danish supermarket fascia is well on its way to disappearing from the UK retail [...]

  50. kerry said:

    Jun 20, 11 at 11:58

    I have just rang Netto and they said the Birtley store will be opening up as Asda. Do they still have to sell or can they keep it now?

  51. Graham Soult said:

    Jun 20, 11 at 12:12

    Hi Kerry, if what you say is correct it looks like Asda’s being allowed to keep the Birtley Netto – which is probably the best outcome for the town really! It was always the case that Asda would be allowed to hold on to Birtley if there were no viable purchasers for it, which increasingly seems to be the case.

    I have just spoken to the PR people who are dealing with all the Netto to Asda conversions, and they tell me that Birtley isn’t on their latest list, which is updated weekly (most recently on Wednesday). However, they’re going to update me if and when that changes!

  52. Danny Bent said:

    Jun 21, 11 at 12:13

    What about the Netto store in Shrewsbury?
    Asda currently have a store very close by (originally
    a Safeway store) so this store will most likely
    have to be sold.
    I cannot find any information on the internet, so does
    anybody know who might be having Shrewsbury’s Netto store?

  53. Graham Soult said:

    Jun 21, 11 at 12:18

    Hi Danny, Shrewsbury isn’t on the list of stores to be divested, so I can only assume that Asda is keeping it. I’ll check next time I’m in contact with the Asda PR people.

  54. Soult's Retail View » Co-op returns to Birtley with purchase of Netto store said:

    Jun 23, 11 at 15:47

    [...] is to acquire the Netto store in Birtley, Gateshead – one of the eight remaining sites that Asda is required to divest following its takeover of the Danish supermarket [...]

  55. Danny Bent said:

    Jul 14, 11 at 14:48

    Will Asda be converting the Netto store in
    Newark (Nottinghamshire)?
    They are currently building a large purpose-
    built store in the town centre close to where this store is,
    so will they be allowed to keep both?

  56. Tony Lewis said:

    Jul 16, 11 at 19:32

    Any further updates about the future of the Netto store in Birtley, Gateshead. You mentioned the Co-Op were interested, 23/6/11..

  57. Graham Soult said:

    Jul 17, 11 at 17:15

    The Co-op is definitely buying it, as I blogged before. Not sure about timescale though!

  58. Danny Bent said:

    Aug 07, 11 at 15:39

    Does anyone know what is happening to the Netto store in Chorley (Lancashire)?

    Like Newark (mentioned above) a new build Asda is planned for this town so will Asda be allowed to have two stores there?

  59. Graham Soult said:

    Aug 07, 11 at 18:58

    According to the Netto store locator, Chorley’s Netto “will close on Saturday 3rd September 2pm to be transformed in to a fresh, bright, new look Asda Supermarket”:

  60. Soult's Retail View » Conversion of North Shields Netto to Asda set to begin said:

    Aug 10, 11 at 15:43

    [...] stores that’s been mentioned in the 60-plus-strong comments thread attached to one of my earliest posts about Asda’s acquisition of Netto, back in January. Passing by on Monday, I noticed that the store is now in the midst of a [...]

  61. Soult's Retail View » From Netto to Asda – checking out the Gateshead store’s transformation said:

    Aug 17, 11 at 23:20

    [...] to wait a little longer for their Netto stores to be turned into Asdas, the process of converting 147 ex-Netto sites into Asda Supermarkets is continuing apace. Stores in Westerhope, Lemington and Gateshead are among [...]

  62. david morgan said:

    Sep 01, 11 at 23:02

    just wondering any news on whats happening with the netto in barrow in furness?

  63. Graham Soult said:

    Sep 01, 11 at 23:30

    Hi David, I’m not sure whether there’s been any update since this article from July:

    Scheduled Asda Supermarket openings for September and October are listed here:

  64. Tam Harris said:

    Sep 25, 11 at 17:01

    Hi all,
    Netto is closing this Friday(30th)with the staff none the wiser as what is going to happen to them. Shame all round!!

  65. Graham Soult said:

    Sep 25, 11 at 17:07

    Sorry, which Netto branch is that, Tam? I’m assuming Barrow?

  66. keith said:

    Sep 27, 11 at 18:32

    Cant believe some store does`nt want to buy the last 3 old netto stores barrow in furness,keighley and wallassay. Think their are both Morrisons and Asda have stores at all 3 locations but come on their are other stores. Don`t give up on the staff that are working at these stores, barrow closes on 30th Sept, are the other two closing on the same day. Hope the staff DO find some employment, it`s not their folt.

  67. Ian Swindall said:

    Oct 29, 11 at 19:25

    It appears that the Netto store in Wallasey (in Seacombe actually) will re-open next Monday as a Morrisons. Apparently they have been able to recruit enough staff from those who were turned down when applying for jobs at the New Brighton store which opened a couple of weeks ago. The OFT have allowed ASDA to retain Keighley, which means only Barrow-in-Furness remains to be sold.

  68. Soult's Retail View » A new UGO tour: positive signs as I go supermarket spotting in Barnsley and Hull said:

    Nov 01, 11 at 16:49

    [...] in January, I reported on Asda’s OFT-instigated divestment of 47 Netto stores, and the news that Haldanes would be buying 20 of those sites for a new discount fascia, UGO. [...]

  69. Danny Bent said:

    Nov 13, 11 at 20:37

    With Barrow-in-Furness having Asda, Morrisons and Tesco, it would be great if Sainsbury’s take over Netto giving this town all the “big four” supermarkets! How about it Sainsbury’s?

  70. Maria said:

    Dec 05, 11 at 15:53

    Shrewsbury Netto – apparently Asda are going to use the Netto store as a ‘Living’ store with clothes and home furnishings etc… so that the actual current Asda can concentrate on food. Opening some time in 2012 but that’s all I know!

  71. Vera Holmes said:

    Jan 28, 12 at 19:57

    Please can someone out there tell me where I can buy Majestic cat food which I used to get from Netto. it is the only cat food my cat willingly eats.

  72. Soult's Retail View » Breaking news: Well-known chain set to snap up UGO stores and staff said:

    Feb 01, 12 at 13:19

    [...] had acquired. Pledging to be “the icing on the Netto cake”, UGO took over 20 of the 47 sites that Asda was required to divest for competition reasons following its takeover of the Danish hard discounter, including four North East stores at Stanley, [...]

  73. Soult's Retail View » Birtley’s ex-Netto Co-operative Food – shiny, but still a Co-op said:

    Feb 29, 12 at 16:42

    [...] readers will recall that the store was formerly a Netto, but fell within the 47 stores that Asda had to divest, for competition reasons, following its purchase of the Danish discounter. While an initial [...]

  74. Soult's Retail View » Reflections on Spennymoor High Street, 85 years to the day from Woolworths’ arrival said:

    Aug 14, 12 at 07:51

    [...] developments on the edge of the centre, such as Lidl’s opening in 2009 and last year’s takeover by Iceland of the town’s ex-Netto store. Former Kwik Save, Spennymoor (5 Jan [...]

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