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North East leads the space change as Tesco adds gyms to Extra stores

New Tesco Extra, Sunderland (6 Jul 2013). Photograph by Graham Soult

New Tesco Extra, Sunderland (6 Jul 2013)

Tesco Extra branches in Stockton-on-Tees and Sunderland are to see surplus space converted into gyms, as the retail giant looks to ‘repurpose’ excess square footage within some of its largest stores.

Plans to shrink some oversized Extra stores were first mentioned back in … Continue Reading

Exclusive pictures: a first look inside the new Tesco Extra at Gateshead’s Trinity Square

F&F at Tesco Extra, Gateshead (17 May 2013). Photograph by Graham Soult

F&F at Tesco Extra, Gateshead (17 May 2013)

It might not open for another three days (at 8am on Thursday 23 May), but last Friday I was delighted to be the first blogger or journalist to officially get a tour of Gateshead’s new Tesco Extra, centrepiece of the town’s £150m Trinity Square development.

Embargoed until this morning, I can now share my photographs and insights from that … Continue Reading

Nipper on the brink: is there a future for HMV, and do we care?

Nipper logo at HMV in Coventry (7 Feb 2012). Photograph by Graham Soult

Nipper logo at HMV in Coventry (7 Feb 2012)

If reports tonight are to be believed, it looks like the 92-year-old entertainment retailer HMV could collapse into administration tomorrow (Tuesday 15 January), putting around 235 stores and 4,350 employees at risk. [UPDATE, 15 January: This has now been confirmed.]

No-one can say … Continue Reading

Photo blog: ten shop fascias that time – and the retailers – forgot

Marks & Spencer, St Helens (10 May 2012). Photograph by Graham Soult

Marks & Spencer, St Helens (10 May 2012)

Whether it’s long-forgotten remnants of departed retailers, or 1980s fascias that chains have forgotten to update, there’s something satisfying about coming across bits of retail heritage in … Continue Reading

Mixed news for North East high streets as 22 Peters Bakery shops are saved, but 34 close

Peters Bakery logo

Peters Bakery logo

Scarborough-based Cooplands snapped up 22 stores from Peters Bakery yesterday, following its Durham-based rival’s collapse into administration back in June.

The deal announced by the administrators KPMG – which also includes Peters’ retail van business and its factory and HQ on the Dragonville Industrial Estate – has saved … Continue Reading

As Trinity Square shoots up, the demolition of Gateshead Tesco nears its end

Last fragment of Tesco Gateshead (10 Jun 2012). Photograph by Graham Soult

Last fragment of Tesco Gateshead (10 Jun 2012)

Seven weeks after it shut its doors to customers, only a tiny fragment of Gateshead’s former Tesco superstore remains standing.

Thompsons of Prudhoe – who seem to have a hand in almost every Tyneside demolition project – had reduced the store … Continue Reading

Heron Foods launches new website and plots further expansion

New Heron Foods website (18 May 2012)

New Heron Foods website (18 May 2012)

Heron Foods, the Hull-based discount supermarket chain, has launched a new website as it takes its first steps into cyberspace.

Described by Retail Week in 2009 as one of “retail’s best kept secrets”, Heron Foods has traditionally kept a low profile, eschewing a web presence – other than … Continue Reading

Tesco’s express demolition: photographs of the Gateshead store biting the dust

Demolition of Tesco Gateshead (13 May 2012). Photograph by Graham Soult

Demolition of Tesco Gateshead (13 May 2012)

Demolition of Gateshead’s old Tesco superstore is nearing completion, just three weeks after it closed its doors to customers.

After trading from the site since 1972, the store closed on … Continue Reading

Oops! Tesco’s Gateshead mailout sends customers to Poundland

Tesco Gateshead mailout (13 Apr 2012). Photograph by Graham Soult

Tesco Gateshead mailout (13 Apr 2012)

Ahead of the Gateshead superstore’s closure on 22 April, Tesco has mailed details of its temporary store to local customers – but they may have trouble finding it using the map provided.

While the leaflet gives the correct address for the former Kwik Save premises, the attached map locates the store on … Continue Reading

Newcastle and Gateshead retail developments roundup

New Primark, Newcastle (30 Mar 2012). Photograph by Graham Soult

New Primark, Newcastle (30 Mar 2012)

Back at the start of the year, I promised that 2012 was going to be an eventful year for Newcastle city centre in terms of interesting retail developments and new store openings. As we approach Easter, it’s probably time for an update on how things are progressing, both in … Continue Reading

Poundstretcher reveals new visual identity as it reopens ex-UGO stores

Sign at Poundstretcher in Ashington (21 Mar 2012). Photograph by Graham Soult

Sign at Poundstretcher in Ashington (21 Mar 2012)

Poundstretcher, the discount variety store chain, has reopened the UGO stores that it acquired last month – and has seemingly unveiled a new logo at the same time.

I was in Ashington yesterday, and paid a visit to the ex-UGO … Continue Reading

Birtley’s ex-Netto Co-operative Food – shiny, but still a Co-op

The Co-operative Food, Birtley (28 Feb 2012). Photograph by Graham Soult

The Co-operative Food, Birtley (28 Feb 2012)

Travelling back from Chester-le-Street yesterday, I was finally able to visit – and do a shop in – The Co-operative Food store in Birtley, which opened back in October.

Regular readers will recall that the store was formerly a Netto, but fell within the … Continue Reading

The South Shields shop that’s been a Woolworths… and nearly every supermarket name too

Former Woolworths (now Sainsbury's), Prince Edward Road, South Shields (21 Feb 2012). Photograph by Graham Soult

Former Woolworths (now Sainsbury's), Prince Edward Road, South Shields (21 Feb 2012)

When I recently got hold of a copy of the 1972 Woolworths store list, I was surprised to see a reference to a North East store that I hadn’t previously known about, at 335-345 Prince Edward Road in South Shields – an apparent addition to the … Continue Reading

How Poundstretcher can learn a thing or two from its acquired UGO stores

Poundstretcher and UGO, Nuneaton (7 Feb 2012). Photograph by Graham Soult

Poundstretcher and UGO, Nuneaton (7 Feb 2012)

After I first revealed that UGO, the fledgling supermarket chain, was set to be sold, there was understandably plenty of speculation about who the buyer was. Now that we know it’s the expanding variety retailer Poundstretcher, what exactly can we make of the … Continue Reading

Breaking news: Well-known chain set to snap up UGO stores and staff

UGO store, Eston (4 May 2011). Photograph by Graham Soult

UGO store, Eston (4 May 2011)

The 20-strong chain of UGO supermarkets is to be snapped up by “a well-known and established brand name”, I understand.

Subject to legals being completed within the next couple of days, all the stores traded by UGO Stores Limited will transfer into the ownership of a new – and as yet unnamed – operator. All store staff will transfer under TUPE to the … Continue Reading

Construction work well underway at Gateshead’s Trinity Square

Trinity Square, Gateshead (18 Dec 2011). Photograph by Graham Soult

Trinity Square, Gateshead (18 Dec 2011)

It may have taken over a year to get started following the Get Carter car park’s demolition, but building work at Gateshead’s Trinity Square is now proceeding apace.

Construction of the £150m development only … Continue Reading

Newcastle’s Co-op food hall to ‘cease trading’ on 31 December

Closing-down poster at Newgate Street Co-op, Newcastle (2 Dec 2011). Photograph by Graham Soult

Closing-down poster at Newgate Street Co-op, Newcastle (2 Dec 2011)

Newcastle city centre’s Co-op supermarket is to close down this month, bringing to an end nearly a century-and-a-half of Co-operative presence in Newgate Street. Posters in the windows and instore – which I spotted while passing by yesterday – reveal that the store will ‘cease trading as a Co-operative’ at 6pm on New Year’s Eve (31 … Continue Reading

Breaking news: Bakery Products acquires North East supermarket supplier Tindale & Stanton

Tindale & Stanton logo

Tindale & Stanton logo

A family-run bakery and supermarket supplier based in County Durham has been saved from closure.

Bakery Products Limited has acquired the assets and goodwill of Hobson Foods Limited (in administration), which traded as Tindale & Stanton. The new business will continue to trade as Tindale & Stanton Limited from its existing premises in Burnopfield, near Gateshead. Bakery Products already owns the Woodhead Bakery in Scarborough, which it … Continue Reading

Heron Foods takes over Wallsend’s former Woolworths – 21 November opening planned

Soon-to-be Heron Foods, Wallsend (15 Nov 2011). Photograph by Graham Soult

Soon-to-be Heron Foods, Wallsend (15 Nov 2011)

After much speculation, family-owned frozen food specialist Heron Foods has revealed itself as the new occupant of Wallsend’s former Woolworths store.

Following my visit two months ago, I reported that the property at 2-4 High Street East – vacant since the … Continue Reading

Hessle Road’s long-gone Woolworths and its successors

Sainsbury's Local (formerly Woolworths), Hessle Road, Hull (11 Oct 2011). Photograph by Graham Soult

Sainsbury's Local (formerly Woolworths), Hessle Road, Hull (11 Oct 2011)

While tearing around Barnsley and Hull visiting UGO supermarkets last month, I was pleased to be able to work in an unexpected ex-Woolworths. Not knowing Hull very well at all beforehand, … Continue Reading