CONCERNS have been raised over the future of a supermarket chain with its 'DNA buried deep in Lancashire' after it was reportedly put up for sale.

Leader of Ribble Valley Council, cllr Ken Hind, said he was worried about Booths which has stores in Clitheroe and Longridge, after it had been reported to be up for sale for around £130million.

The supermarket chain has a strong connection with East Lancashire after one of the first branches was set up in Blackburn in 1884, under the name E.H Booth & Co Ltd.

Chorley town centre also boasts a store in New Market Street.

The business made a loss of £6.3million in 2016 and has 28 stores across Lancashire, Cumbria, Yorkshire, Greater Manchester and Cheshire.

Cllr Hind said there was around 200 full time and part time members of staff who work in the stores.

He said: "It's important to understand the reports we are hearing are the chain has been put up for sale, however this is not a suggestion at the moment stores will close, however it is a possibility.

"My concerns are if a new owner is found they are going to need to keep the Booths name alive.

"Both Ribble Valley stores both lie in the hearts of their town centres.

"If the chain was to go then we would not only be losing two stores but we're losing a name that has been part of Lancashire for a very long time.

"Its roots and DNA are buried deep in Lancashire."

The chain began its life as a tea shop when 19-year-old Edwin Henry Booth opened up 'The China House' in Blackpool.

In 1863 Mr Booth added wines and spirits to his business and further branches were opened in Lytham and Blackburn.

It employs around 2,800 across the north of England.

Cllr Hind said: "It is important to the Ribble Valley that we work together with the new owners in the same way that Booths family have done as part of our local communities.

"We need to make sure sure the new owners continue to provide the same service to the Ribble Valley as in the past.

"Booths as the Waitrose of the north provide a wide range of quality products a part of our retail offering, different from cheaper rivals which we wish to retain."

A Booths spokesman said: "Booths has been retailing for over 170 years and it remains a very strong, resilient and well-loved brand.

"One of our strengths has been our ability to adapt to changing market conditions and naturally, we always keep our strategic options open."