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

Graham Soult

Retail consultant, writer, blogger; helping retailers via CannyInsights.com and CannySites.com. Say hello on Twitter at @soult!

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74 Responses

  1. Vera Holmes says:

    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.

  2. Maria says:

    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!

  3. Danny Bent says:

    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?

  4. Ian Swindall says:

    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.

  5. keith says:

    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.

  6. Tam Harris says:

    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!!

  7. david morgan says:

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

  8. Danny Bent says:

    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?

  9. Tony Lewis says:

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

  10. Danny Bent says:

    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?

  11. Danny Bent says:

    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?

    • Graham Soult says:

      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.

  12. kerry says:

    Hi,
    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?

    • Graham Soult says:

      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!

  13. Eddie Geraint says:

    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.

  14. Danny Bent says:

    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.

  15. 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.

  16. Gabriella Coscia says:

    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.

  17. Gabriella Coscia says:

    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.

  18. Eddie Geraint says:

    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

  19. Danny Bent says:

    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

  20. Ian says:

    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!

  21. Danny Bent says:

    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.

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

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

    • Graham Soult says:

      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! :)

  23. 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.

  24. Danny Bent says:

    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.

  25. Retrogadget says:

    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.

    • Graham Soult says:

      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!

  26. george wilson says:

    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

  27. Graham Soult says:

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

  28. Ian Swindall says:

    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.

  29. Ian Swindall says:

    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.

  30. Chris Lewis says:

    What about the Shildon site. any news on there?

    • Graham Soult says:

      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.

  31. Alex says:

    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.

    • Graham Soult says:

      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.

  32. 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).

  33. 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.

  34. 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?

    • Graham Soult says:

      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.

  35. Graham Soult says:

    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!

  36. Chris Smith says:

    Anyknow about the stores in Cumbria.

  37. J says:

    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

  38. J says:

    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

  39. J says:

    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

    • Graham Soult says:

      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.

  40. Graham Soult says:

    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.

  41. 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.

  42. Robert Gledhill says:

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

    • Graham Soult says:

      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!

  43. Alex says:

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

    • Graham Soult says:

      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!

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