Waitrose in Gosport 'could shut by 2025' according to council papers as site is sold

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A Gosport supermarket site is to be sold off by its owner – who says the store will close within three years.

Slough Borough Council is selling off some of its assets after it declared itself bankrupt in July 2021. It has a £680m borrowing debt and a £479m black hole.

Senior councillors agreed to sell four of its out-of-town properties to reduce its financial liabilities, as part of a belt-tightening plan to sell £600m of properties and save £20 a year until 2029.

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One of the sites its owns is the Waitrose in Gosport, which was bought as part of a £32m spending spree between 2017 and 2019.

Waitrose in Gosport High Street Picture: GoogleWaitrose in Gosport High Street Picture: Google
Waitrose in Gosport High Street Picture: Google
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But council papers outlining the proposed sale reveal that Waitrose is likely to not extend its lease when it expires in 2025. However, Waitrose contests this, and says it has no plans to close.

The other properties due to be sold include an Odeon Cinema in Basingstoke, a Wickes Store in Wolverhampton, and an Expect Distribution warehouse in Bradford.

Slough council papers outline that the property is a two-storey building on the high street, with three other larger supermarkets within a mile.

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The papers say: ‘The market for the supermarket in this area of Gosport has fallen and interested parties were aware that Waitrose had not traded well from the site, and thought that Waitrose would not re-gear their lease.

‘While the current tenants, Waitrose, have a strong tenancy covenant, they have indicated that they do not intend to extend the tenancy when it terminates in 2025, and there is little discernible appetite for the site from other supermarket chains or property developers.’

At a cabinet meeting, Slough council leader James Swindlehurst said the authority needed to sell the supermarket now or ‘else things could get worse’ if it did not happen before 2025.

Property advisor Avison Young said the Odeon and the Waitrose sites have dropped in value by £5.2m due to Covid-19 and inflation affecting the cinema market, although the other two sites attracted bids higher than their valuation. Only one bidder – who has not been named – was interested in the Waitrose site.

A Waitrose spokeswoman: ‘It is our intention to negotiate terms with the new landlord when they are in place and to continue trading from this site.’

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