Grocery giant braced for job losses
SUPERMARKET firm Kwik Save today axed 79 stores in a bid for survival.
The company, which has its headquarters in Huddersfield, issued a brief statement regretting the "difficult" decision.
But it said the closures were vital if the company was to cut costs and secure its future.
Trade unions warn that hundreds of jobs will be lost with the closures, which were expected to be completed today.
A total of 147 stores will remain open after the closures.
A spokesman for the shopworkers' union Usdaw said: "This is a huge number of closures which will affect many workers.
"We will be seeing an urgent meeting with the company to clarify what redundancy package workers can expect as well as discussing the long term future of the business."
There had been speculation in recent days that the firm was facing a new cash crisis after receiving a £50m rescue package in February.
Last week, Arla Foods stopped delivering milk to the grocery chain, citing "payment problems".
Unconfirmed reports suggested that Kwik Save's bread supplies had also been stopped at several stores in the past few days.
The company warned in March that it was set to make a number of redundancies.
It also announced plans to move its head office from Fitzwilliam Street in Huddersfield to Warrington.
That came weeks after the firm said it had secured a £50m rescue package in a deal which also saw former chief executive Paul Niklas return as chairman and chief executive with plans for a major review of the business.
Kwik Save was bought by supermarket operator Somerfield in 1998.
Last year, it was sold to a consortium - called Back to the Future Ltd - led by Richard Kirk, chief executive of fashion retailer Peacock Group.