Tesco rows back on plans for stores on €5m sites
Supermarket giant Tesco has decided to pull the plug on two expensive property investments.
The company spent around €5m buying land for new outlets in Ballybofey and Letterkenny.
The UK retailer has just one store in Co Donegal - in Letterkenny - but wanted to add a petrol retail outlet close by.
The proposal was opposed by local businessman Eddie Tobin who runs an exiting outlet a few hundred metres away.
The company went through several planning appeals in an effort to open the forecourt on a 0.32 hectare site, and was eventually granted planning permission.
Tesco faced similar planning constraints on a more ambitious project in Ballybofey.
Donegal County Council granted planning permission in 2011 for a 4,300 sq metre outlet in the town. It is believed Tesco paid more than €3m for the site.
However, An Bord Pleanala overturned the council decision to give the go-ahead for the store.
Tesco has confirmed it has now sold the six-acre site as well as the site of its proposed Letterkenny fuel forecourt.
"I can confirm the two sites have been sold and as such no longer form part of our development portfolio," said a company spokeswoman.
The company is in the process of selling 25 sites across the Republic as part of a cost-cutting drive after abandoning major expansion plans.
Tesco maintains 149 outlets in the country, employing 15,000 people.
The retailer has had a number of difficult years and faced an investigation in Britain into the misreporting of company profits.
But it reported an 8.7pc sales growth here for the first quarter, driven by its focus on in-store price cuts and promotions.