Almost 40 staff at the Co-operative in Diss could face redundancy after it was confirmed Aldi were in talks to take over the Mere Street store.
The Co-operative, which operates in the building on a lease basis, currently employs 37 people at the store.
The Diss Express understands that all of the jobs at the store could be at risk of redundancy. It is believed that, should Aldi move into the store, works to the premises, including an extension, could take place, meaning a long period of closure. Surveyors have been spotted outside the store this week.
A spokesperson for the Co-operative said they were unable to comment on the staff situation while negotiations, between the two stores and the landlord, were ongoing.
They added: “We can confirm that we are currently in negotiations with Aldi regarding the potential sale of our Mere Street store in Diss.
“The sale is subject to contract and staff have been informed of the negotiations. The store currently continues to trade as usual.”
The Diss Express asked what would happen should the Aldi negotiations fail and whether the Co-operative would look at other retailers to take on the store - but the spokesperson declined to comment.
An Aldi spokesperson said: “Aldi has a requirement for a store in Diss, and we would like to be trading in the area by the end of this year.
“Aldi would like to open a store in Diss as it is a fantastic town that currently doesn’t have a discount grocer. The town really punches above its weight due to the pull from the surrounding catchment areas, and is a focal point in Norfolk.”
John Gorle, the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers’ national Officer, representing Co-op workers, told the Diss Express: “We have been made aware by the Co-operative Group of their proposal to close their Diss store and for Aldi to take over the site, which is still subject to contract.
“We understand that if this arrangement does go through existing Co-op staff will not be transferred because Aldi intend to undertake significant redevelopment works on the site including an extension, which will result in a long period of closure.
“In those circumstances we will enter a period of consultation, where we will explore the options for the existing Co-op staff.”
The Diss Express understands that staff, although they have been informed, a date has not yet been set for the proposed Aldi takeover.
Aldi, winners of Which? Best Supermarket 2013, opened its 500th store in nearby Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, in October.
Should the discount retailer move into Mere Street, it would face competition from the nearby Tesco and Morrisons superstores in Victoria Road.
It is not the first time the store has been taken over.
The now defunct supermaket chain Somerfield used to operate the store.
Somerfield was taken over by the Co-operative Group in 2009, in a £1.6 billion deal, making it, at the time, the UK’s fifth largest grocery retailer.
n What do you think? Would you like to see an Aldi store in the town? Will you be switching supermarkets? Let us know - email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, Tweet us @Diss_Express or write to us: Diss Express, Mere Street, Diss, Norfolk, IP22 4AE