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Chain blames market pressures

Waitrose withdraws from Edinburgh store plan

Waitrose Edinburgh store planPressures on the supermarket sector have persuaded Waitrose to withdraw plans for a controversial outlet in Corstorphine, Edinburgh.

The planned store on St John’s Road had also attracted criticism from those concerned about traffic volumes on an already busy road and near to a primary school.

Waitrose said the decision had not been taken lightly after ten months of planning.

“We are grateful to Realis [the owner of the freehold] and the council’s planners for all their efforts, but following changes in trading conditions across the supermarket sector and shifts in customer shopping patterns we reviewed our plan and have decided not to progress further at this time,” it said in a statement.

“We are sorry for any disappointment and would like to thank everyone who gave us their feedback during the consultation.”

Supermarkets have been feeling pressure from discounters which has forced some to scale back or close outlets. Waitrose, part of the John Lewis Partnership,  has been winning customers, up 6% over the year, but price competition hit margins and annual operating profits slumped by 23.4%.

However, local concerns surrounding the Corstorphine store are likely to have played their part in the decision. The site is on an already busy and narrow junction.

Questions will now be raised about what will happen to the row of part-empty units which were once home to Woolworths and a Lloyds pharmacy.

A spokesperson for Birmingham-based Realis Estates, which owns the freehold on the site, said: “We have worked closely with Waitrose to bring the scheme forward over the past few years and are obviously disappointed not to be able to progress further.

“We would like to add our thanks the people of Corstorphine for taking the time to attend the public exhibitions and share their views with us.”

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