// More than 300 Spar branches across the north of England have been struck by a cyber attack
// It is unclear whether any customer data has been compromised by the hack.
The supermarket chain Spar has been forced to close scores of stores following a cyber attack.
The outage, which first struck on Sunday, has left more than 300 shops unable to receive credit card payments or use email.
Many branches were forced to shut, although some sites have managed to stay open by accepting cash.
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It is currently unclear whether any customer data has been compromised by the hack.
A spokesman for the retailer said that only stores across the north of England which are run by distribution partner James Hall & Company were impacted, with the company supplying products to almost 600 of Spar’s stores.
Spar has more than 2,500 stores in the UK that employ about 40,000 people and has an annual turnover of more than £3bn.
Customers complained on social media about the closures with one tweeting: “Anyone know what happened to Spar shops today? I’m currently visiting a friend in Whitby and went there for milk. Two Spar stores with fuel stations closed. Saw an attendant who said the whole till system has been down all day.”
This incident marks the second substantial cyber attack of a grocer operating in the UK in recent months, after Tesco’s website and app were taken offline by an attempted hack in October which left customers unable to place orders.
The Information Commissioner’s Office and National Cyber Security Centre both said they were aware of Spar’s cyber attack and would be making further enquiries.