Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Supermarket Giant Crushing Local Trade

By Ben Aulakh

The arrival of a supermarket giant in one Warwickshire town has slashed the sales of local traders by between 10 and 40 per cent.

Market leader Tesco’s opened a superstore on the outskirts of Southam, South Warwickshire, on August 30 this year.

However many sole traders in the town have seen their trade cut dramatically as a result of the new store opening.

Staff at the Acorn Stores Supermarket on the town’s main street said, “In the first 2 months we lost 20 per cent of our sales; no one feels the impact like small independent businesses do.”

“We have all been sold down the river, Tesco wouldn’t care if every single shop in the town closed.”

They also said petrol stations and farm shops in the area had seen their sales hit by the arrival of the supermarket giant.

The Budgens supermarket further down the high street has also seen a drop in trade; a member of staff at the store said that he had noticed fewer people in the store on a daily basis.

One of the businesses hardest hit by Tesco’s arrival is the Southam Bakers Snack Store; owner Mandy Duffin has seen 40 per cent of her trade wiped out in the last 2 months.

She said, “We don’t open on Saturdays anymore, and we have cut out opening hours from 8am until 3pm to 9.30am to 2pm, it’s not worth us staying open outside of those hours.”

She said she had also had to cut the hours of some of her staff in order to stay competitive, and sales of her sandwiches at the local BP petrol station had also seen a loss.

Mandy added, “I am a Tesco shopper, and I would have had no objection if the store had been in the town, but because the store is where it is, you go out onto the main street hour after hour there is no-one there.”

Owner of the local BP garage, John Jinda has seen his sales drop by around 10 per cent; “There has been a big effect on my shop sales, there is a big industrial area nearby, lots of people used to come in here to buy coffee and sandwiches at lunchtime.

“Now there is no one, so they all must be at Tesco; every small shop and sole trader has been hit.”

Mr Jinda said that he believed some business owners had lost around 50 per cent of their sales.

A former District Councillor, Alan Akeister vocally supported the creation of the new Tesco supermarket on the town’s outskirts, despite vocal opposition from many of the towns’ residents and business owners.

Mr Akeister also actively opposed the building of a Sainsbury’s supermarket in the centre of Southam town.

A press release quoting the former councillor while he was still in office in April this year said, “The real danger here is that if Tesco is refused permission because of an unproven and uncertain scheme in the town centre, Southam will be left with no major foodstore and little prospect of one coming forward in the foreseeable future.”

Photograph from www.thesun.co.uk.

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