Discount store in new hands

A HARTLEPOOL discount store is in new hands after being taken over as part of a deal involving 20 supermarkets.

The jobs of all the workers at the town branch of Netto look set to be protected in the new deal – with the possibility of more on the way after the takeover by the Haldane Retail Group.

The new owners have acquired 20 stores owned by Asda which are trading at the moment as Netto, including a branch in Skerne Road, on the Oakesway Trading Estate in Hartlepool.

The move looks to be good news for the town outlet and further details will be announced at a press conference in Leeds next Friday.

But the Mail understands the expansion plans are expected to include the safeguarding of 450 jobs, as well as the potential for more across the group in the future.

The stores will trade under the name of UGO and entrepreneur and sole shareholder of The Haldane Retail Group, Arthur Harris, said: "UGO will be a flexible, friendly and approachable company with old fashioned ideas and ethics reconstructed where necessary to encompass a modern trading format.

"There is an opportunity in the mid-size discount supermarket sector to do something special and I think UGO, with its established store teams, is the brand that can do it."

The 20 new UGO stores, currently still trading as Netto, stretch from Northumberland to Warwickshire, with branches in Ashington, Hartlepool, Burnley, Bradford, Hull, Blackburn, Barnsley, Bury, Doncaster, Rotherham, Liverpool and Nuneaton.

The Netto branches including the one in Hartlepool have been acquired from Asda who themselves took over the Netto chain last May in a 778m deal.