SUPERMARKET chain Sainsbury’s has created over 80 new jobs in the region by buying up four former Kwik Save stores.
The chain, which bought sites on Teesside and Tyneside formerly owned by the troubled discount chain, has also confirmed it will take on 45 former Kwik Save employees over and above the new jobs.
The firm has bought stores in Gilesgate, Durham, Forest Hall, North Tyneside, North Ormesby in Middlesbrough and in Stockton’s Glebe Centre.
Meanwhile the company has allayed fears that it will close the former headquarters of North-East convenience store group Bells, which it acquired in a £22m deal in 2004.
In April Sainbury’s said certain departments at the offices in Skelton on Teesside may be closed, sparking fears of redundancy among the site’s workforce of 25.
However a spokesperson for the supermarket firm said yesterday that there were no plans for closure or job cuts within the office, which remains the administrative centre for the surrounding region.
Sainsbury’s latest string of North-East acquisitions is part of a package of 15 former Kwik Save sites it has bought across the country.
Sainsbury’s chief financial officer Darren Shapland said: “This acquisition will bring approximately 90,000sqft of new space to our store estate and represents a significant development in our plan to open 100 new convenience stores over the next three years.
“We are excited about the opportunities these stores will create in extending the reach of the Sainsbury’s brand and we look forward to welcoming new colleagues to Sainsbury’s.”
The new store in Stockton’s Glebe Centre will provide the biggest jobs boost to the region, creating 22 new positions as well as taking on 15 former Kwik Save workers.
Euan McMurdo, Sainsbury’s head of property for convenience, said: “We are looking forward to extending the Sainsbury’s offer in Stockton in an enhanced and modern store. We would like to thank customers for their patience during this refurbishment phase.”
Sainsbury’s is currently the subject of a lengthy takeover bid by Qatari-backed investment fund Delta Two.
The Arab investment vehicle is currently locked in talks with its banks in a bid to raise the extra cash it needs to keep its £10.6bn bid for Sainsbury’s alive.
The group has approached a number of banks in an attempt to raise the additional £500m which last week it warned it would need.
It is understood it would need to retain a high level of cash in the business in case the supermarket’s rivals launched a price war on Sainsbury’s immediately after the deal was completed.
The Takeover Panel has set a deadline of 5pm on November 8 for Delta Two to announce an offer or walk away.
Last July Kwik Save plunged into administration after struggling to keep up with increased competition as big retailers such as Tesco and the Co-op have extended their presence in the convenience retail sector.