SHOPPERS have questioned the decision to close a convenience store less than a year after it opened.
The Morrisons M Local store in Gosport is one of 140 sites being shut around the country by the company.
It seems very odd to spend all that money converting the shop just to close it less than a year later.Jim Baxley
The shop, on Brockhurst Road, only opened in December last year and customers said they were surprised by the move.
Jim Baxley, who lives within walking distance of the shop, said: ‘It seems very odd to spend all that money converting the shop just to close it less than a year later.
‘I thought it had quite a decent footfall too. Whenever I go in there, it seems to be fairly busy.
‘It’s in a great location just on the way into Gosport with a car park.
‘The store was handy to have because I like shopping in Morrisons, but the nearest big one is right in the town centre.
‘Having this one a couple of minutes away was really good. It is a shame.’
Regular customer Anne Croach said she used the store almost every day.
The 72-year-old said: ‘I love shopping in there and when it opened I was happy about it.
‘It’s such a shame to see it close and it seems very strange to me they would close it.
‘I like the range they have, even though it is a small shop.’
Only five M Locals are remaining open across the country, which are either on forecourts or will be converted into small supermarkets.
The M Local store in Elm Grove, Southsea, is also closing.
Leader of Gosport Borough Council Councillor Mark Hook said he was surprised by the news.
‘I don’t think they have given it a chance to see what the potential is,’ he said.
‘I’m surprised they have taken that view with something they have invested a significant amount of money in.’
Cllr Hook added he hoped the 20 staff who are employed there would be given alternative work within the company.
In a statement, the chief executive of Morrisons David Potts said: ‘Convenience is a large and growing channel in UK food retailing.
‘Morrisons learnt much from its entry into the market, but M Local was unable to scale.
‘However, we remain open to other opportunities in convenience in the future.
‘I would like to thank all the Morrisons colleagues for their hard work and dedication to M Local.’
A date for when the shop will close has not been announced.