Smaller stores will be hit

Oh the twists and turns of a corporate giant.

Oh the twists and turns of a corporate giant.

During the planning process for Tesco to extend its Salterton Road store, it was suggested to them that opening another smaller store could possibly be a better alternative than extending the Salterton Road store.

In a statement to the planning committee, Tesco responded by saying that this option was not viable or appropriate, as a smaller store would only stock a smaller range of goods that matched the core retail product of their existing store and would not, therefore, draw people to the town or change their shopping pattern from the existing.

Tesco further claimed that this arrangement would be of 'no benefit' to the town and would not be viable to Tesco, as a store operator.

Yet, within seven weeks of the planning application being passed, Tesco announced its plans to open a store within the town by the end of November.

Once the new store is open and the extension is complete at Salterton Road, using figures put forward by Tesco, it is calculated that the company will increase its sales by a minimum of �11 million and will control more than 90% of the grocery, convenience and comparison goods market, within Exmouth.

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Surely, this is not a healthy or competitive market and can only lead to the reduction of choice for the consumer and the slow painful death of the town centre.

Some people will say that it is good that Somerfield/Co-operative has at last some competition, but with Tesco deciding to open its store from 6am to 11pm, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, it is also in direct competition with the smaller convenience stores in and around the town.

With the increasing cost of wages, rents, rates etc, how long will the likes of Somerfield/Co-operative and the many small businesses in the town continue to accept this amount of loss in income, before they decide enough is enough and close their doors and how will Exmouth fair in attracting new business to the town when they realise that Tesco has such a stranglehold on the spending power of the residents of Exmouth.

The opening of Tesco in the town should not be viewed as a new beginning but rather the beginning of the end.

Philip Rainbird.

45 Rolle Street,