STAFF at the Kwik Save store at Station Plaza Ilkley have been re-assured that their jobs are safe despite the company being sold by owners Somerfield.

In a shock move this week, Somerfield sold the Kwik Save brand leading to the sale of 248 stores. Of these, 171 were bought by a new company BTTF set up specifically to operate Kwik Save.

Ilkley's supermarket, which employs around 15 people, was closed on Monday this week while the deal went through but it opened up again on Tuesday morning.

More than 100 Kwik Save stores will be converted to the more up-market Somerfield brand and another 77 will be sold to other retailers.

The retail union Usdaw has stepped in to try and support Kwik Save staff.

A spokeswoman for the union, Joanne McGuinness said: "Our members have been informed and fully briefed about this announcement and our full-time officials will be working very closely with staff in stores to make sure they fully understand the implications for them.

"For our members involved in the sale to the new owners their terms and conditions are legally protected by trade union transfer legislation.

"We have already contacted the new owners to find out their plans for staff, how they intend to secure the long-term future of the well-known Kwik Save brand and see how we can take this company forward."

A spokesman for Kwik Save said: "BTTF Limited has been specifically formed for the purpose of acquiring Kwik Save and is owned by an entrepreneurial group of retail and business professionals, committed to serving local customers.

"In a deal involving the full transfer of assets of these stores, all staff will become employees of BTTF Limited, as Kwik Save Limited. There will be no redundancies from the stores involved in this acquisition."

Paul Niklas, managing director of Kwik Save Limited and a former director of Formica Limited, said on Tuesday: "Today marks a re-commitment to the Kwik Save brand an its already strong local presence. We will over time, be refreshing the store image whilst maintaining the existing offer of quality-branded products at competitive prices.

"We will also be looking for opportunities to source local produce wherever possible, to bring local products direct to the local community."

Kwik Save has established its head office in Huddersfield and is expecting to create around 50 jobs.