A food retailer which failed to find a suitable buyer for its business will permanently close a significant portion of its stores, it has emerged.
Budgens said it will be shutting 34 of its 100 shops, with the loss of around 800 jobs nationwide.
The owner, Food Retailer Operations Limited (FROL), laid the blame on “difficult trading conditions”.
The stores had first been put up for sale last year, but administrators revealed last week that they had failed to find a suitable buyer in time.
John Gorle, national officer at the trade union Usdaw, said: “It was clearly the beginning of the end when a small number of landlords managed to narrowly block the CVA (company voluntary arrangement).
“I am seeking an urgent meeting with the Co-op about possible redeployment opportunities and we will explore all avenues to help members seek alternative employment.”
Nine of the 34 outlets have already closed, with the remaining 25 to disappear over the coming weeks.
The stores which will remain open are owned by food wholesaler Booker, which is soon to be taken over by Tesco. The deal will create a food empire worth more than £60billion.