THE Southern Co-operative is to close five of its stores in Gosport and Portchester, it has been announced.
The retailer plans to shut branches in Wych Lane, 32 Forton Road and Bury Cross in Gosport as well as its Linden Lea and Castle Street stores in Portchester within the next three months.
Gosport and Hampshire Councillor Peter Edgar said he was upset and disappointed by the announcement.
Cllr Edgar said: ‘It’s 100 years of history going and this is extremely sad.
‘They were the original branches of the Portsea Island Mutual Co-operative Society.
‘It does seem to be the end of an era.’
Cllr Edgar said the closures would have a big impact on the community.
He said: ‘I feel sorry for the large number of older people in the area that depend on these stores to do their shopping.’
A spokeswoman from The Southern Co-operative said: ‘After careful consideration, The Southern Co-operative has taken the commercial decision to exit from the Linden Lea and Castle Street stores in Portchester, as well as the Wych Lane, 32 Forton Road and Bury Cross stores in Gosport.
‘These stores will be closing within the next three months.
‘This is purely a commercial decision and does not reflect the hard work of our colleagues at these stores.
‘The colleagues affected have been informed of the closure of these stores and we are working with them to ensure that, where possible, they will be able to transfer to another The Southern Co-operative store if they wish.
‘The Southern Co-operative’s approach remains one of continued growth.
‘We have successfully added over 100 stores to our estate in recent years and will continue to open and operate our stores in areas that are profitable to our business.’