New life is given to empty supermarket in Willenhall

An empty supermarket in Willenhall has been taken on by new owners – creating 30 much-needed new jobs in the town. Budget retailer 99p Stores is to open in the former Somerfield store on New Road.

An empty supermarket in Willenhall has been taken on by new owners – creating 30 much-needed new jobs in the town. Budget retailer 99p Stores is to open in the former Somerfield store on New Road.

It is currently in the midst of a £250,000 refit and is expected to open in around two weeks’ time. The building, one of the biggest in Willenhall and one of the centrepoints of the town, has been standing empty for more than a year. The company has expressed delight at the move.

Hussein Lalani, boss of 99p Stores, said they were “thrilled” to be opening another store in the West Midlands, following the launch of a new branch in Great Barr on Saturday.

“We have very many branches in the region and the new Willenhall branch is coming as a result of people power,” he said.

The new opening is part of a major expansion unveiled by the firm this summer.

It hopes to create 3,000 new jobs across the UK and Ireland over the next two years. Willenhall will be the company’s 214th store.

Councillors in Willenhall today welcomed news the building, which stands on a main route through the town centre, was being brought back into use.

Carl Creaney, for Willenhall South, said: “It’s good to see a building being brought back into use and I am over the moon it is creating 30 new jobs just in time for Christmas.

“It hopefully goes to show Willenhall, and Walsall, is bucking the national trend and bringing business in.

“It is a very prominent building right in the middle of the town centre so it will be great to see it not standing empty.”

Somerfield closed down last September due to its “poor trading performance” with the loss of 36 jobs.

There had been a supermarket on the site for more than 20 years but three rival chains had opened up in close proximity.