TRADERS in Caldicot have said the town could be heading for a bleak and uncertain future after a popular supermarket announced its pending closure.

Waitrose revealed on Wednesday that its Caldicot store on Newport Road will be one of four to close across the UK, with 124 people to be made redundant.

It said it made the decision to shut the branches after it struggled to make them “profitable in the long term” following a period of “challenging trading”.

The store will close permanently on December 6, and Tracey Clements, who has spent all her life at 70-year-old business Wye Valley Studios on Newport Road, said it is “awful news” for the town.

“A lot of people come here from the surrounding area because of Waitrose,” she said. “The only other supermarket is Asda and due to the location I fear people will go there and go home.

“This is the most challenging period we’ve ever had as a business. Rates are too high and Caldicot isn’t a busy place. People don’t call in here like they used to.

South Wales Argus:

(Nick House and Tracey Clements at Wye Valley Studios)

“I’m worried – I can’t say where we’ll be in a year.”

In 2018 Monmouthshire council revealed plans for a £10m town centre regeneration project.

Work to renovate Caldicot Cross got under way in October last year, and councillor Jo Watkins says she is not sure the council could do much more to help traders.

South Wales Argus:

(Caldicot Market last month)

“I was devastated when I heard the news [about Waitrose],” she said. “The store is extremely well-liked and has been a pillar of our community.

“We could lose a huge amount of visitors and our traders need support now more than ever.


“The high street in Caldicot is decimated, but I don’t think the council can do much more. The Welsh Government has to find a way to make rates cheaper.”

Cathy Edwards, who closed her shop Country Flowers during the pandemic and has moved it online, says Caldicot is a victim of changing shopping habits.

“My fear is Caldicot isn’t an appealing place for a new business, because of the high rates and lack of visitors,” she said. “This decision by Waitrose will only add to that issue.

“It’s another big blow. I’m lucky I have a loyal customer base, but change is needed. I’m encouraged by the Caldicot regeneration project, but that money will be wasted if we can’t encourage traders to come here."

South Wales Argus:

(Cathy Edwards (L) and Diane Clough outside County Flowers, which closed during the pandemic)

Cathy’s former business partner Diane Clough, said: “People will start asking themselves whether there is much point in going to Caldicot unless something changes quickly.

“This is a huge loss to the community. I now work at a school and Waitrose has been excellent to us and really charitable over the years. It’s devastating.”

Alex Feetham at Clarke’s Butchers added: “We feel terribly sorry for the people who have lost their jobs.

“I was encouraged by the council’s initiative to support local shops, but I’ve not seen those ideas come to fruition. Local traders really need support now after this news.”

South Wales Argus:

(Alex Feetham at Clarke’s Butchers)

A spokeswoman for Monmouthshire council said: “It is deeply disappointing to hear that Waitrose in Caldicot intend to close their store.

"In Monmouthshire we have been working to breathe new life into our towns with our 'Shop Local, Shop Monmouthshire' campaign, and it is beginning to work.

"A big thank you to our residents who are choosing to come back to our towns where we have made changes to ensure safe shopping and social distancing.

"In Caldicot, we are working to improve the environment and I am confident that we will continue to see more people returning to the town."