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Stone’s High Street Co-op to close

The largest retail unit on Stone’s High Street is to become vacant later this year as Central England Co-Op take the hard decision to close down their main store in the town.

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?

14 comments

  1. Jill and Joseph wood

    There is no chance at all of m and s taking over the co op the borough want west bridge park that’s all there is to it.We have tried for years to stop the borough taking over our park reading between the lines they want to take it over and to h..l what we the people of stone want after petitions,meetings ext the borough will win every time we in stone have no say in the decisions as much as would like to.

  2. Walking down Stone High Street can be a depressing experience these days, with so many of our stores disappearing, and I do wonder what priority the councils put on attracting and retaining businesses to keep the town alive (apart from the first Saturday in the month!). Common sense dictates that they should push really hard to attract M&S to the Co-op premises – on so many levels it would be a great option: help the High Street, save unnecessary building on Westbridge Park, probably increase customer base for M&S, environmentally sound etc.
    Is it worth another petition, or do we think our voices are ignored?
    Surely the leisure facilities on Westbridge Park can still be improved, and the more business that is attracted to the High Street the higher the revenue to help fund schemes.

  3. I will miss the relaxed shopping in the Co-op although I appreciate that the relative quiet was symptomatic of the reason for its closure. I’ll also add another voice in favour of M&S being pressed to take over the store in order to keep the High Street alive.

  4. So now we all know that the ‘Co-Op’ in Stone High Street will be closing their doors, for ever, later this year- leaving behind the prospect of a large empty unit for the first time in many decades.

    Meanwhile plans are being finalised for a purpose-built store down on Westbridge Park for a Marks and Spencer Food Store and Café- self-contained and isolated from the Town Centre .

    PLEASE ,PLEASE, PLEASE Councillors and Planners from Stone and Stafford surely now is the time to BEG M&S to consider moving into this huge empty unit (with car park) in the High Street? !
    The impact on footfall would be instant and the ripple effect, on existing and potential new retailers and traders, would be immediate! Life would be breathed back into our ailing town centre!
    I am very reliably informed that the owners of that site would be prepared to tailor it to whatever shape and size that M&S asked for.
    Work has not started on Westbridge Park yet and with the fresh knowledge that the Co- Op are definitely leaving , is it too late for the ‘powers that be’ to work together and explore this obvious option?
    Or will history dictate that it was ‘on your watch’ that Stone Town Center finally died?

  5. Like a lot of other people, I think that it’s a sad day for Stone high street and the people of Stone. The Co op has for many years been a national chain run and staffed by local people. The Co Op has provided service such as a free home delivery service (on purchases over £25 ) assisted shopping for the less abled customers and a friendly face to a number of lonely customers. One wonders iff that is in the plans for the new M&S or any other of the big supermarkets that may look to use the site. It’s also worth noting that the staff in the main are from the more mature age group (average age of staff 40 plus) who understand how to treat customers, this takes nothing away from the younger members who are all well versed in customer care skills. A number of colleagues have over 20 years service, and whilst the Co Op will attempt to redeploy staff, in today’s climate that will undoubtedly prove to be difficult when individuals personal curcumstances are taken into consideration. The potential loss of 40 jobs is yet another blow to Stone and local businesses.

  6. It’s entirely logical for M&S to take over the Co-op store, providing the parking space can be increased, which would ensure that the Westbridge Park retail development is abandoned. This would not only allow the High Street to survive but should help generate considerably more business to help it thrive.

  7. …..another charity shop !!

  8. After firstly reading the news that the co-op was to close on Stoke Sentinel’s news page, it saddens me to read that Stone’s own councillor’s still can’t bring themselves to encourage people to come to Stone! One of them had quoted ” As soon as M&S plan was sanctioned by the council, it was a massive nail in the coffin for Stone High Street. A lot of people won’t come into the High Street and why should they? “!!! There are some lovely shops in the High Street who’s owners work extremely hard to maintain their business! These kind of quotes are not helping! People should be encouraged to support the High Street!

  9. Make it a Waitrose – like Leek!

  10. Be great ifor the town M and S took over this site and not on Westbridge Park.

    That won’t happen though because it’s all about a new Academy to replace Alleynes being built along with housing on the site of the current swimming baths and housing going on the current Alleynes site

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