There has been much, and much-deserved, fury in recent weeks about the job creation claims of the multiple retailers.
For years they have been getting away with it: approvals for development have been rubber-stamped by local councils, and justified on the basis that they will bring jobs to the area concerned. But now there has been significant media scrutiny about just how ‘real’ these claims are. At the same time, the supermarket giants are expanding their sales space dramatically without increasing their employee head count.
It’s good news for our trade that this debate is now out in the open, and it is to be hoped that job claims connected to new store developments will be looked at more closely in future, although it is frustrating that it took so long for the penny to drop.
But as well as the negative publicity surrounding the supermarkets, there is a potential positive for local stores. Any jobs created by an expanding independent will be firmly rooted in the community, not just in the store but potentially among local craftsmen and service industries such as lawyers and accountants as well. And, as our page three story shows, it can offer young people a career and chance of advancement. I regularly meet young store managers who started off on the shop floor of independent retail outlets, and you cannot help but feel proud - both for their own achievements, and also for the retailer who has nurtured their talent.
We need to keep banging the drum that you don’t have to be a big business to be capable of job creation, and that the benefits of working in the independent sector can be enjoyed by the entire community.