Reader letter: What caused the demise of Co-op?

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Reading your recent article on the proposed facelift of the Town Hall made me think about its semi-derelict near neighbour, the poor old Co-op and, I wonder if anyone knows, or is prepared to share the real reason for its sad demise?

Some years ago the business was limping along and then along came a Mr Scott who turned the business around.

We had the Regency Rooms which was one of the most popular venues in the locality and a very successful travel business which was supposed to be one of the biggest independent travel businesses in the country.

There were also at least two large garages, a department store and last but not least the supermarket section.

We then learn that the garage had to be disposed of and the travel department had to be sold off.

Also about the same time strangely what seemed to be a very successful Regency Room complex closed with almost no notice, although an ex-employee informs me that it had lots of bookings.

Hence after these disposals I guess the rump of the business became unprofitable and was merged with the Midlands Co-operative Society.

I wonder if the expression merged is a polite way of saying “given away”? We can only guess that the new owner took the view that it was not possible to turn the business around and hence closed the remainder, with the exception of the old supermarket which sadly, deprived of any investment, continues to limp along for the present.

I am sure that many of the ex-customers like myself who dearly miss it would like to know what really went wrong.

How could it be that both its auditors and management committee could stand by and watch this slow motion car crash which occurred over a period of several years?

I am sure that some of my fellow readers must know the answer to my questions. If so I think there are many other readers who would be interested in learning the facts.

-David Frost

-West Hallam