Waitrose is set to close three stores and sell a further four, putting hundreds of jobs at risk, the supermarket announced this afternoon.
Budget grocery chain Lidl has snapped up stores in Bromley, Oadby in Leicestershire and Wollaton in Nottinghamshire.
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A fourth store in Sandhurst, Berkshire, has been bought by an unnamed buyer.
Branches in Marlow, Stevenage and Waterside near Heathrow are expected to close by autumn after the company, which is owned by John Lewis, said it could not find a way to make them turn a profit,
In total 677 employees working at the stores will enter a consultancy period.
Mark Gifford, Waitrose director of shop trade, said: ““We haven’t taken this decision lightly but we have to do what’s right for the business as a whole.
“Thanks to the hard work of all our Partners we’re making good progress and Waitrose & Partners is on track for profit growth this year but, despite the best efforts of everyone involved, we haven’t been able to find a way to make these shops profitable in the long term.
“Our priority now is the wellbeing and future of our Partners in these shops. We will do everything we can to support them and will explore opportunities for anyone wishing to remain with the Partnership.”
Main image credit: Getty