OPERATORS of a cash and carry in Hexham have announced plans to close the site, putting seven jobs at risk.

Staff at Blakemore Wholesale were told on July 10 that the base in the town would shut its doors by the end of the month.

It’s understood letters have been sent to customers stating that the decision has been taken due to “unsustainable losses over the last 12 months”.

The 10,000 sq ft base on the Bridge End Industrial Estate was previously owned by Lowrie’s until a buy-out in 2013 which saw Blakemore’s acquire the Lowrie’s cash and carries in Newcastle and Penrith, as well as Hexham.

The company is part of the AF Blakemore group, which began life in 1917 as a counter service grocery store in Wolverhampton and now employs more than 7,500 people.

The Hexham depot, which supplies fresh, chilled and frozen foods, as well as catering products, is used by customers and businesses from across the district. It also offers a delivery and click and collect service, which a spokesman for Blakemore’s said would be retained.

“We can confirm that we have commenced a period of consultation with the seven members of staff at the company’s Hexham depot with a view to closing the site on Friday, July 28,” he said in a statement.

“This difficult decision has been reached following careful consideration by the board of directors, which has concluded that trading at the depot is unsustainable.

“The company will endeavour to safeguard the employment status of all those affected by this decision and will provide all the necessary support for colleagues during this difficult time.

“Blakemore Wholesale has contacted customers in relation to this news and we will offer a delivery service from our Killingworth depot to all of our collect and delivered customers, currently served via the Hexham depot.”