A SUPERMARKET employing 25 people is to close within weeks.
The Co-op food store, in Church Street, Seaham, will shut on June 11, the company has confirmed.
The firm says it has reluctantly take the decision due to “the store’s poor trading performance”.
George Cain, North East organiser for shopworkers’ union Usdaw, said the move has caused “shock and devastation” and they are working to find new jobs for the staff.
He said: “We are talking with other employers to see if we can find vacancies.
“We will be putting people’s details out there and we will also be looking to see what the public’s reaction to this is, because this will mean there will not be a Co-op in Seaham.
“As someone who uses the shop, I can say that no one has worked harder than those people.”
Mr Cain said the union got application forms for other retailers in the hope of finding work for the staff.
He said: “We’ll be in touch with the workforce on a regular basis.
“There is a new office complex opening behind the store and the staff won’t get the chance to see what would have happened.”
He added: “We’ve now have questions to put to the Co-op about bonuses and other issues.”
The nearest other Co-op to the Seaham store is three-and-a-half miles away in Murton.
The Seaham store has been trading under the Somerfield sign, but the Co-operative Group acquired the Somerfield chain in 2009.
A spokesman for the company said: “The Co-operative Group can confirm that its store in Church Street, Seaham, is to close on 11 June, 2011.
“Staff at the store have been informed of the decision, which was taken with the greatest of reluctance.
“The closure is due to the store’s poor trading performance. It is not, in any way, a reflection on the commitment and hard work of the store team.
“Every effort will be made to redeploy as many as possible of the eight full-time and 17 part-time staff with the Co-operative, or to help them find alternative employment.
“The Co-operative is committed to community retailing in the area, and is investing heavily in refitting and converting local stores, which offer modern shopping facilities and comprehensive ranges.”