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Supermarket’s store managers trade places

Tesco's new Lerwick store manager Neil Connell, a company man since the age of 16. Photo: Shetnews

TESCO has confirmed that its Lerwick store manager Paul Clelland has traded places with the long-serving boss of its Fraserburgh store.

Clelland has enjoyed a high public profile in the islands since moving here six years ago after the supermarket giant took over the South Road store from Somerfield in 2008. 

A Tesco spokesman confirmed Clelland, who developed a reputation as an astute manager during his time at the store, had departed for Fraserburgh having spent six years in Shetland.

“His family are all on the mainland and he wanted to make the move for his son starting school in August,” the spokesman said on Friday. “He is currently on holiday.”

New store manager Neil Connell, who has been with Tesco for some 32 years since joining aged just 16, has already started work in Lerwick.

The 48 year old is currently living in a hotel but he and his wife, who have two children, are planning to move to Shetland.

Connell said: “I’m really happy to have made the move to Tesco Lerwick and I’m looking forward to getting to know our customers in-store and across Shetland.”

The Lerwick shop is one of the most lucrative in Tesco’s portfolio. After buying the store, the company – which accounts for around 30 per cent of the UK’s grocery market – has expanded both the shop floor and car park, and introduced a delivery van service.

The spokesman said that since Clelland arrived in Shetland “store sales have doubled”.

Tesco’s expansion in the islands has not been without its critics: some small retailers have cited the supermarket’s growth as a factor in forcing them to close, while small country shops have found trading conditions increasingly difficult.

Though the company does not disclose its exact turnover for individual stores, some sources believe it now accounts for more than 60 per cent of Shetland’s retail sector.

Lerwick store manager Paul Clelland, who has moved to Fraserburgh, pictured earlier this year with one of its delivery vans.

It is understood that there are more than 20,000 customer transactions each week at Tesco’s Lerwick store, while it is believed turnover is in excess of £40 million a year.

Meanwhile German-owned supermarket Aldi has stated that it has “no plans” to open a branch in Shetland having placed a job advert online which appeared to be recruiting for a post based in Lerwick.

The advert, which has now been removed, had prompted some speculation locally but a company spokesman said: “Aldi has no plans for Shetland at the moment and the recruitment ad is one of a number which has provoked media enquiries over the last few days from Nairn/Stranraer/Wick etc.

“In each case the director of property has said there are no plans for these locations.” 

The Co-operative, which has faced serious difficulties nationally in the past couple of years, said it had no plans to sell either its Lerwick or Brae stores.

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