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Norfolk town’s Co-op site will be vacant for months after store closure

17:55 26 February 2014

The former Diss Co-Op, which closed down on Saturday

The former Diss Co-Op, which closed down on Saturday

Archant

The Co-Operative store in Diss is set to close within weeks, leaving the site empty for at least six months until a new Aldi store moves in.

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The Mere Street shop, which has been trading since 2009, has been sold to discount retailer Aldi and will shut on March 22, with the loss of the 37 staff, though the Co-Op is looking to redeploy them either within the company, or to help them find alternative employment.

An Aldi spokesman confirmed the shop takeover, but said the new store would not open until the final quarter of this year to allow for an extensive refurbishment and refit.

She added Aldi would be looking to recruit 40 new staff from the local area, with recruitment days taking place throughout the summer.

She said: “Aldi is interested in opening a store in Diss as it is a fantastic town that currently doesn’t have a discount grocer. The town has a strong pull from the surrounding catchment areas and is a focal point in Norfolk.

“Aldi is looking forward to bringing customers in the Diss area brand-like quality products at everyday low prices.”

A Co-Operative spokesman said: “We can confirm that we have finalised the sale of our Mere Street store in Diss to Aldi, and that the store will close on Saturday, March 22.

“Staff have been informed, and every effort is being made to redeploy as many as possible of the 37 store colleagues, either with the Co-Operative or to help them find alternative employment.

“We would like to thank the store team for their hard work, and our shoppers for their valued custom over the years.”

However, the majority of the customers visiting the supermarket on Wednesday morning were opposed to the closure, fearing they would lose the friendly, personal service offered by the Co-Op staff, as well as the good quality food.

Avril Young, of Louies Lane, Diss, said: “I have got mixed opinions about it. I feel that the staff that have worked there have been loyal and some of them have worked there since before it became the Co-Op.

“A lot of shoppers use it like a corner shop when they don’t want to go to supermarkets. Will Aldi offer the same service or is it trying to compete with Morrisons and Tesco?”

However, Jenny Poole, 22, from Brockdish, hoped the change would encourage the town’s Morrisons and Tesco stores to drop their prices.

She said: “Personally, I would probably favour the change only because Aldi and Lidls for me are a lot cheaper and I think maybe it might encourage Morrisons and Tesco to have more offers and drop their prices just because there is more competition going on.”

Joan Moore, of Louies Lane, said: “I am sorry it is going. I have enjoyed going in there and everything I want is there and the staff are always happy and it is nice and that is all I want in a shop. The staff are nice and helpful and I will miss it.”

Anne Williams, of Roydon Road, Diss also expressed her sympathy for the staff who had worked at the store for a long time.

She added: “I think they have a good standard of food. Some things are more expensive, some things are cheaper and I like the staff, who are always friendly. For me, it is convenient.”

Are you disappointed that the Co-Op store is closing down? Email dominic.bareham2@archant.co.uk.

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