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Tesco tasks senior man to help secure tenant for Armagh store site

More than six weeks after Tesco’s bombshell that it had pulled the plug on plans for an Armagh super-store and no new tenant has been found.

But the retail giant has repeated assurances to Armagh City and District Council that it will do everything in its power to have the Alexander Road site filled.

Tesco has tasked Callum Ford, its senior development manager, to the job.

He has personally written to the council to offer assurances that no stone will be left unturned in trying to find an alternative tenant to allay fears that the developed site will be left unoccupied.

The letter will be considered at the monthly meeting of Armagh City and District Council tomorrow night (Monday).

Construction is still continuing at Alexander Road by the Co Armagh firm Turkingtons, which also built the Tesco Xtra outlet at Craigavon and the Tesco store at Downshire Road in Newry, among others.

Work remains on schedule for the keys to be handed over mid-April.

All traces of the Tesco name from fencing around the site have long since been removed.

It was on Thursday, January 8, that we reported that the beleaguered supermarket giant had written to Armagh council confirming it was not proceeding with plans to open in the city.

It was one of the proposed 49 stores UK-wide which Tesco had decided to pull the plug on.

The company said it would close 43 unprofitable stores across the UK – a “significant proportion” of which will be local convenience shops.

In a letter to the Armagh Council leader, John briggs, Tesco Chief Executive Dave Lewis said he was “very sorry that we have not been able to deliver the investment that we intended”.

Mr Lewis said: “In recent weeks we have had to face up to some very tough decisions which affect many hard-working people. I don’t want to do that lightly and so it is with a very heavy heart I am announcing today that we are unable to proceed with 49 new planned store developments across the UK, including our planned store in Armagh.

“I am very sorry that we have not been able to deliver the investment that we intended. I know this news will be a real disappointment to many people in your community and we are extremely grateful for the support we have received for our plans.

“I am very aware of the importance of the site to the local community and I am determined that we will work closely with you and Armagh City and District Council to find the right solution for your community.”

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