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Reflections on Spennymoor High Street, 85 years to the day from Woolworths’ arrival

Site of original Woolworths(?), High Street, Spennymoor (5 Jan 2012). Photograph by Graham Soult

Site of original Woolworths(?), High Street, Spennymoor (5 Jan 2012)

I suspect it will have passed the townsfolk by, but today – 13 August – is the 85th anniversary of Woolworths opening in the County Durham town of Spennymoor in 1927. However, the location of the new shop (store #278) wasn’t where you might think.

In previous blogs, I’ve written about how the Woolworths … 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

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

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

A new UGO tour: positive signs as I go supermarket spotting in Barnsley and Hull

Signage at UGO Lundwood (11 Oct 2011). Photograph by Graham Soult

Signage at UGO Lundwood (11 Oct 2011)

The emergence of UGO as Britain’s newest discount supermarket chain has been one of the most interesting retail launches of 2011 so far.

Back in January, I reported on Asda’s OFT-instigated divestment of 47 Netto stores, and the news that Haldanes would be … Continue Reading

Putting Asda’s Price Guarantee to the test – in an ex-Netto Asda Supermarket

Point-of-sale promotion of the Asda Price Guarantee. Photograph by Graham Soult

Point-of-sale promotion of the Asda Price Guarantee

Judging from the number of hits – currently 900+, and rising – many of you enjoyed my recent illustrated post about Asda’s Old Fold Road store in Gateshead, following its impressive transformation from a Netto.

While the increase in product lines and instore services … Continue Reading

From Netto to Asda – checking out the Gateshead store’s transformation

Interior of Asda Supermarket, Gateshead (8 Aug 2011). Photograph by Graham Soult

Interior of Asda Supermarket, Gateshead (8 Aug 2011)

While some communities on Tyneside – among them North Shields and Wallsend – still have to wait a little longer for their Netto … Continue Reading

A tale of three Tyneside ex-Woolies – Jarrow, North Shields and Wallsend

St Clare's Hospice shop, Jarrow (8 Aug 2011). Photograph by Graham Soult

St Clare's Hospice shop, Jarrow (8 Aug 2011)

While Store Twenty One is about to take over the unoccupied part of South Shields’ former Woolies, the ex-Woolworths in Jarrow – already part-occupied by Store Twenty One – has gained a new tenant for its own vacant section.

As I reported … Continue Reading

Conversion of North Shields Netto to Asda set to begin

Notice at Netto North Shields (8 Aug 2011). Photograph by Graham Soult

Notice at Netto North Shields (8 Aug 2011)

I paid my first visit to an ex-Netto Asda Supermarket last weekend – more of which in the coming days – but meanwhile the process of converting 147 Netto sites by the end of November continues apace.

North Shields is … Continue Reading

Tamworth’s ex-Netto Morrisons is small but (almost) perfectly formed

Promotion for Tamworth's new Morrisons (17 Jun 2011). Photograph by Graham Soult

Promotion for Tamworth's new Morrisons (17 Jun 2011)

With a visit to an ex-Netto UGO in the bag, and one to an ex-Netto Asda in the offing, it seemed only fair to check … Continue Reading

Harris: “We believe, long term, UGO has a good future”

UGO offers leaflet

UGO offers leaflet

Interview headlines:

  • UGO stores need to “trade better” but are not “at danger level”
  • IT and ordering issues will be addressed
  • More UGO stores planned – new Leeds store “in negotiations”
  • Own-brand bakery products to be stocked at UGO imminently
  • Admits that “full weekly shop” idea was a mistake – “fine-tuning” required on product and price
  • Main plan now is to “bed down” UGO

The first part of my interview with Arthur … Continue Reading

Co-op returns to Birtley with purchase of Netto store

Netto, Birtley (24 Jan 2011). Photograph by Graham Soult

Netto, Birtley (24 Jan 2011)

The Co-operative Group has announced today that it is to acquire the Netto store in Birtley, Gateshead – one of the six remaining sites that Asda is required to divest following … Continue Reading

Work starts on converting Tyneside Netto stores to Asda Supermarkets

Netto, Old Fold Road, Gateshead (28 May 2010). Photograph by Graham Soult

Netto, Old Fold Road, Gateshead (28 May 2010)

Less 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 landscape.

Haldanes – currently distracted by the … Continue Reading

Store closures loom as indie grocer Haldanes calls in administrators

Haldanes logo

Haldanes logo

The independent supermarket chain Haldanes looks set to become the latest retail casualty, after filing for an administration order today.

In a statement this afternoon, Arthur Harris, the CEO of Haldanes Stores Ltd and Ruston Retail, said:

“Following advice from our lawyers and an insolvency practitioner, we have made the decision to seek an administration order for Haldanes Stores Limited and Ruston Retail Limited … Continue Reading

Will UGO back? Checking out Britain’s newest supermarket chain

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

Signage at UGO store, Eston (4 May 2011)

Since first meeting them at the UGO launch press conference back in January, it’s been a pleasure to develop a really good relationship with the key people at both the … Continue Reading

Haldanes not ruling out purchase of “great” Netto Birtley store

Netto, Birtley (24 Jan 2011). Photograph by Graham Soult

Netto, Birtley (24 Jan 2011)

When 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 eight remaining Netto stores that Asda is still required to divest by the OFT.

As … Continue Reading

Haldanes pledges that UGO will be “the icing on the Netto cake”

UGO cake

UGO cake

Following 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 Leeds. 

Appropriately held just a short distance from Asda’s corporate HQ, the event was organised by Haldanes, the fledgling independent grocer who, as I blogged before, … Continue Reading

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 … Continue Reading

Morrisons to acquire Tamworth’s Netto store

Morrisons store. Photograph by Graham Soult

Morrisons store

The Netto store in my old hometown of Tamworth is one of 16 sites that Morrisons is set to acquire following Asda’s purchase of the Netto UK business. The stores are among 47 that the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has required Asda to sell to competitors, to avoid a … Continue Reading