A CONVENIENCE store in a Southampton shopping parade will shut its doors for the last time this Saturday.

The Co-Op in Midanbury Broadway will close with 12 jobs at risk, less than two years after a Tesco store opened yards away.

The Co-Operative Group declined to say whether the new Express store in Witts Hill had contributed to the store’s closure, but a local councillor believes that it is to blame.

The store, which was originally an Alldays, will close on August 1 when its lease expires, with the firm saying it will try to find alternative employment for the staff working there.

Tesco’s plans to turn The Castle pub in Witts Hill into a store sparked a campaign that was backed by previous Itchen MP John Denham and a 600-word petition was put together when they were unveiled in 2012.

Local traders said they feared the new store, which opened in 2013, would cost jobs.

Now it is set to be the only big-name convenience store in the area after the Co-Operative group’s decision to shut the branch, which follows the closure of its Portswood store last year.

David Fuller, Conservative ward councillor for Bitterne Park, pictured below, said: “I think the Tesco has been a factor, it’s a busy shop and it’s got a better range of products than the Co-Op and people are going there.

Hampshire Chronicle:

“I think local people are voting with their feet and where they prefer to shop, but it’s a shame that jobs will be lost by the closure.”

A spokesman for The Co-operative Group said: “Staff have been informed of the decision, which has been taken with the greatest reluctance and follows the expiry of our lease.

"It is not, in any way, a reflection on the commitment and hard work of the store team.

“Every effort has been made to redeploy as many as possible of the 12 members of staff with The Co-operative, or to help them find other employment.

“We would like to thank our shoppers for their valued custom over the years.”