PLANS have been announced for the opening of a Waitrose supermarket in the centre of Newcastle.
The chain, part of the John Lewis Partnership, will open beneath John Lewis in Eldon Square this summer as part of the renovation of the shopping centre that will see a former bus station converted into shops.
Waitrose also announced the closure of its Durham store yesterday, however, which will result in the loss of 100 jobs.
The company had taken over the former Safeway supermarket in the Gates shopping centre, but said it had failed to return a profit. It hopes to offer new jobs to staff where possible.
It is expected that around 100 jobs will be created in the Newcastle shop.
Waitrose managing director Mark Price said: “Eldon Square offers us another exciting opportunity to grow our business and underlines our desire to bring the Waitrose offer to more people in the North-East. The decision to close our Durham branch was not a decision we took lightly, and was made after long and careful consideration.
“We understand the disappointment this decision will cause, however, the store has traded at a loss since we opened two years ago.
“Unfortunately, despite the best endeavours of our partners and investment in branch marketing, we have not been able to return it to profit.”
The news of the new shop has come on the day that Waitrose came top in a poll of the UK’s favourite shop by Which? magazine, beating sister store John Lewis.
Previously based in the south of England, it has opened nine stores in the North in the last few years, including one in Hexham, Northumberland.
The Eldon Square shop will cover 10,000 square feet and is part of a £170m project to redevelop the shopping centre.