The Warwickshire-based retailer’s move flies in the face of Costcutter’s declared intention to fight against the might of the major multiples.
At its conference in Tenerife last year, managing director Colin Graves said: “I am disappointed that some retailers have taken their pot of gold and sold their stores to the enemy” (‘Costcutter vows to fight enemy’, The Grocer, May 28, p6).
Defending its decision to sell the stores to Tesco, Artgoal operations director Eddie Willis said: “You have to do what you have to do to survive. It was a very attractive deal for us.”
He said that the deal had helped Artgoal to meet exceptional costs, including a severance package for former managing director John Ewens, who left the company at the end of last year.
Willis insisted that Artgoal had no intention of selling its remaining seven stores and said that it would keep on looking for acquisitions.
Commenting on Artgoal’s decision, Graves said: “If a retailer gets a fantastic offer, it’s their business what they do.
“We’ve told them we’re disappointed, but they’ve got their families to think about.”
He added: “One of our retailers was offered £1m by Tesco for the lease on a shop, but we’re not worried because as we lose one shop, we’re opening more.”
Separately, Christopher Oughtred, chairman and joint MD of William Jackson & Sons, the former owner of Jacksons, this week claimed that selling the retail chain to Sainsbury had been “like losing a limb”.
Tesco is rumoured to be planning a bid for Dutch retailer Ahold. Investors suggest that Tesco could be planning to join forces with private equity group Kohlberg Kravis Roberts to table an offer. Tesco said it did not comment on speculation.
Richmond Foods is closing its production site in Bude, Cornwall. Products made at Bude will be transferred to Richmond’s three other production sites.
Small retailers must provide access to the disabled or face the consequences of breaking the law. The BRC warned: “Smaller stores face a tougher challenge to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act, but if they’re found to have not made ‘reasonable’ changes they could be sued.”