Tesco has given assurances it will build a new store in Huddersfield – but the size and timeline remain unclear.
The Examiner contacted the supermarket giant after it ditched its plans for a superstore in a nearby town.
Tesco was granted planning permission in 2012 to build a giant store on the current site of Huddersfield Sports Centre.
But now the size of the Huddersfield supermarket’s future has been cast into doubt after Tesco axed its plans to build a superstore in Littleborough, Greater Manchester.
Announcing its withdrawal from the town between Todmorden and Rochdale, Tesco spokesman Mark Thomas admitted that the company was switching towards smaller convenience stores.
Mr Thomas told the Rochdale Observer: “Our customers’ shopping habits have changed over the past few years.
“People now tend to shop less in large stores and more in convenience stores and online.
“In light of this we have carefully reviewed our proposals for Littleborough and a large Tesco store is no longer appropriate.”
A £22m Tesco store, due to open in Cambridgeshire in November, has been temporarily boarded up and its opening delayed while the firm also delayed opening a new store in Lincolnshire.
Last month, Kirklees Council leader David Sheard said he suspected Tesco was edging towards building a smaller Huddersfield store in light of the company’s plummeting profits and share price.
But yesterday, Mr Thomas told the Examiner that Tesco was committed to honouring its contract to build a superstore off Southgate.
Mr Thomas said: “We are in ongoing discussions with Kirklees Council regarding our new store in Huddersfield. As soon as we have further information on a timeline for our store we will be sure to provide the community with an update.”
Tesco is believed to be legally bound to build the superstore after the new Huddersfield Sports Centre at Springwood is complete.
Paul Kemp, Assistant Director of Place said: “The Council and Tesco have entered into a binding Legal Agreement for the sale of the authority’s land at Southgate to the retailer. Officers and representatives of Tesco’s Property Team continue to meet on a regular basis in order to review progress. Clearly Tesco’s recent financial issues are the subject of intense media speculation but at this point in time there is no evidence to suggest that they intend to defer or withdraw from the proposed development of the Southgate site.”
The company suspended four of its bosses after the supermarket overstated its half-year profit guidance by £250m.
The firm is currently under investigation by the Serious Fraud Agency.
Tesco opens an Express convenience store on the site of the Grey Horse, Halifax Road, Birchencliffe, on November 18.