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UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s is to close its Netto stores after abandoning a joint venture with a Danish retailer. Its 16 stores will continue to trade throughout July and will close during August, Sainsbury’s said.

About 400 jobs are at risk, although the companies hope to re-deploy staff where possible.

Sainsbury’s and its partner in the venture, Dansk Supermarked Group, said the trial was ended because Netto needed rapid expansion and investment.

The tie-up was an attempt to rival discounters such as Aldi and Lidl.

Mike Coupe, chief executive of Sainsbury’s, said: “To be successful over the long-term, Netto would need to grow at pace and scale, requiring significant investment and the rapid expansion of the store estate in a challenging property market.

“Consequently, we have made the difficult decision not to pursue the opportunity further and instead focus on our core business and on the opportunities we will have following our proposed acquisition of Home Retail Group,” he added.

Sainsbury’s teamed up with Danish retailer Dansk Supermarked Group (DSG) in 2014 to bring Netto back to the UK.

The brand once had 200 stores but these disappeared after the chain was sold to Asda in 2010.

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