Stretford Foodhall announces it is to close

“This is really shit. A huge loss to Stretford.”

By Ben Arnold | 2 February 2024

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Stretford Foodhall is to close next weekend, its operators have said.

In a statement posted to Instagram, Mital Morar, who also runs the Ancoats General Store, said that the decision came with ‘great sadness and torment’.

He was also forced to close the Sale Foodhall on Stanley Square last year, as well as the branch on New Bailey Street in Salford.

“It comes with great sadness and torment that we have decided to close on Sunday 11th February 2024,” he said.

“Opening in 2019 to much risk and applaud we very quickly had problems! We were too busy, didn’t have enough seats and had to evolve very quickly. A good problem! For all the naysayers, Stretford supported us and we couldn’t have been happier.

“We hadn’t even traded one year and along came covid and changed all that. We haven’t ever really recovered. Whilst trading through, winning awards, doing takeaway food and coffee, we evolved as much as we could with what we could post covid. Entering inflation, cost of living crisis and this crazy enduring energy situation… we have no more left in the tank.”

The foodhall opened in the summer of 2019, and quickly became a much-visited spot for Stretford locals, the first stage of the redevelopment of the Stretford Mall.

It also played host to dozens of independent food traders, including Rack, Desert Island Dumplings, The Otto-Men, Egg and Co, Waffle Cart and What’s Your Beef.

“We continue to be involved with the GMCA dialogue to support them in lobbying government for change in the hospitality sector. Too many friends are suffering and we stand with you,” Mital went on.

“We are very concious of our strengths and weaknesses. We are very concious of the current environment and we have tried our best with all the headwinds to make a go of it and keep going for the greater good. We are grateful for the support from our customers, our relationships with food traders and suppliers. 

“We appreciate BRUNTWOOD who helped where they could and we have no doubt the new and final vision will deliver the goods. Sadly, our part in this journey cannot continue.

“We are acutely aware, on this journey of survival, we have let some people down. We apologise unreservedly for this and hope to make right one day. As you know, our roots are embedded in retail. We will continue on this journey and navigate this tough environment there.

“This closure isn’t a reflection of our colleagues in branch, they too have endured a tough ride of uncertainty and changing decisions day to day. 

“We have had to become an operation we don’t aspire to be and this too cannot continue. We Thank You for your service and will support your roles and continuity as best we can. You are all individual and amazing and we wish you only the best for the future.

“We would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to all the food traders, creatives, pop ups, breweries, artists and more who have engaged and explored this road with us in Stretford. Our warmest wishes to our business neighbours and community friends who have humbled us with your friendship. We will meet again one day.

“As a Manchester born and bred business, local and independent, our confidence and Ikigai (as Masako once taught us) has been knocked. It has been a tortuous few years. But we get up and fight daily. Whilst we are closing, we haven’t given up. We look forward to serving you again one day… for now see us at @generalstores_

“Thank You Thank You…Mital & Family.”

The post has already been met with shock and well wishes.

“As customers, neighbours and friends this is truly heartbreaking,” said the Stretford Canteen, which operates from a few doors down.

“It was the vision and drive shown by you (and your team) that finally galvanised us to open our business. As others have written, you are the heart and soul of our community and we are bereft without you. Thank you for trying so hard to keep standing, we know how difficult it’s been.”

Another local resident added: “This is really shit. A huge loss to Stretford.”