Waitrose in Orchard Shopping Centre, Dartford set to shut for the last time today
After a decade of trading in Dartford, Waitrose is set to shut its doors for the final time at 5pm today.
More than 120 people will either be moved to a new store or lose their jobs.
Proposals for the closure were outlined in October and, after a consultation phase, the store was deemed “commercially unsustainable”.
Staff do the conga at Waitrose which closes for the last time today
The supermarket giant, which employs 128 people – known as partners – at the Orchards Shopping Centre, will shut for good at 5pm.
Waitrose director Stephen Hider said trading at the branch had been “difficult” since it first opened in 2004, replacing Safeway.
Dartford council leader Jeremy Kite paid tribute to the staff.
He told the Messenger: “I’m very grateful to all the staff for their hard work and the huge success they’ve given to the town.
"It’s sad but things do change and I really wish them all success, they should be very proud of what they’ve achieved."
The Dartford Messenger hoped to say a big goodbye to staff by picturing them all together and speaking to some of the staff this afternoon.
We were told by Waitrose property and development communications manager James Armstrong: “As you will appreciate, it will be a sad and challenging day for our Dartford Partners so I’m afraid we cannot accommodate your request to interview staff and take photos.”
A picture later appeared on Facebook by staff showing them doing a conga before the store opened this morning.
Waitrose at the Orchard Shopping Centre in Dartford
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