The closure comes after a review of the stores trading performance, although the proposed development of a new Marks and Spencer food store may have brought the stores performance under tighter scrutiny.
The loss of the store will affect 38 members of its staff and the co-op is now undergoing the necessary consultancy process to hopefully redeploy the staff in to other areas of the Co-operative business.
The Post Office that moved in to the Co-op in 2013 have confirmed that they are still committed to maintaining a presence in the town and are therefore considering their options.
A Central England Co-op spokesperson said:
“The Society can confirm it is proposing to close its food store and Post Office on High Street, Stone.
“It is with great regret that the Board of Directors has taken this very difficult decision following a full review of the trading performance of the store and Post Office, which has indicated a decline in sales with increasing losses projected in future years.
“Like other retailers, we are constantly adapting to retail challenges at a local level and please be assured this decision was not taken lightly and is necessary to protect the long-term future and growth of the Society as a whole.
“Post Office Limited was given formal notification of the closure in January this year and we are working with them to try and find a new Post Office operator.
“This decision in no way reflects upon the excellent endeavours of the colleagues at Stone store and Post Office and the Board of Directors would like to thank them for their commitment and dedication.”
No firm date has been set for the closure but it will not happen before the lease expires in October this year.
The Post Office said:
“We can confirm that Central England Co-operative have given us notice that they intend to close their Stone store which currently houses Stone Post Office.
“We would like to assure customers that the Post Office is committed to maintaining a Post Office service in the area and will work hard to ensure this. We are currently assessing options to maintain service while we work to identify a permanent solution for Post Office customers in Stone.”
The closure of the store comes on the back of the announcement that Aston Marina were closing down their deli operation to focus on events and restaurant custom.
With Stone’s largest High Street retail unit vacant who would you like to see occupy it? Are you hoping for a new food shop to be opened or would you prefer to see another large retailer come to the town?