SUPERMARKET giant Sainsbury's is moving into Garstang - and may open the doors of its store before the new Booths.
The arrival of Sainsbury's, which has bought Garstang's Somerfield supermarket, will add another dimension to the changing retailing landscape in the town, where there is already speculation about the impact of the
6 million new Booths store which is scheduled to open in late summer.
The detailed timetable for Sainsbury's make-over of the Somerfield store has yet to be revealed, but the store's conversion into Sainsbury's livery may be completed by mid-summer.
Sainsbury's spokesman Mr Chris Templeman said: "The Garstang Somerfield presents an excellent opportunity for us to extend the Sainsbury's offer in the area.
"The new store will provide improved and modernised shopping facilities for the local community, offering an excellent fresh food and grocery range."
He added: "The acquisition is expected to complete over the next couple of months. The store will then close for a period of refurbishment and re-branding and will re-open as a Sainsbury's later this year."
Responding to the news that its main rival in Garstang would be Sainsbury's, a Booths' spokesperson said this week: "Throughout our history, competition is something we have had to deal with on a regular basis. Booths believes there is a future in Garstang and has therefore invested heavily in a new store due to open in late
Whatever the rivalry between the big retailers the main winner looks certain to be Garstang itself, which by autumn this year, will be able to boast two of the leading supermarket names within a few hundred yards of each other, each with convenient customer parking.
Garstang's business community, some of whom have already expressed reservations about the impact the opening of the new Booths store could have on High Street trade, met on Monday to discuss their reaction to the arrival of Sainsbury's.
Chamber of Trade spokesman Mr Damian Carr said: "Members seem happy that it is going to be a quality store with a good reputation. It will enhance the other quality businesses that we have already."
Staff at the Garstang Somerfield, who have all been offered jobs at the new Sainsbury's, were told the news on Friday.
A change in the ownership of Garstang Somerfield store had been expected for several months, following the 1.5 billion buyout by the Co-operative Group of Somerfield's 650 UK stores around the country - and a subsequent order by competition watchdogs to sell-on 133 of the stores, including Garstang.
A Co-operative Group spokeswoman said it was "business as usual" at the existing Co-op on High Street, Garstang.
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