MAKKAH Foods has responded after receiving online abuse for taking over the Co-op in Parkstone.

Tariq and Usman Khan own Makkah Foods, a series of international supermarkets across Dorset.

When announced the duo would be expanding into a larger store later this year, the decision divided opinions for the residents of Parkstone.

Founded in 1976, Makkah Foods offers an ethnic supermarket that is ‘committed to providing customers with the freshest, highest quality food products and groceries.’

Bournemouth Echo:

Responding to the negative backlash, Usman said: “I think the biggest issue came down to, as blunt as it sounds, the fact that we bought it not being white British.

“We already own the large block further down the road next door.

“If it had been Lidl, Aldi, or M&S that bought it, there would be no problems at all."

Tariq added: “There has also been quite a lot of misinformation about Makkah Foods, so we just wanted to set the record straight.

“Apparently, we don't employ any female staff, even though we do.

"We can't sell alcohol, we never would, not even for all the money in the world, I think that across the board, most people understand that, but unfortunately, some people don't."

"I think everything got escalated from something that was nothing. 

Read more: 'Makkah Foods is opening shop in Parkstone next year.'

Usman added: “We know that in the past, one of our stores received a low hygiene rating.

“A BCP health hygiene officer visited us last week.

“I took him to the new site, and I showed him what the plans were and we all agreed that he's very happy about the move and says exactly what we need and it's finally come, what we've been talking about all these years.

“They're excited and happy and they're proactive to work with us.

“We literally can’t ask for more from BCP Council, they're taking out their own time to come down and sort of talk to us about it because they want to see the store do well, be five-star, and be the best, it’s the recipe for success.

“As they say, the proof will be in the pudding - everyone's going to have an opinion, be it good or bad.

“You can't please everybody, but our plans and what we're doing will speak for themselves and it should please everybody.”

The Echo understands that British Heart Foundation has now decided to stay in Parkstone.