Sally Stringer believes she has been dropped in favour of bigger fry. She wrote from Beckford Stores, Worcestershire, that she “thought it would be useful for other small Londis retailers to know how you are disposed of when the garage side of the Londis business moves into the area”.

She explains: “We are a small village store and PO and had been with Londis since 2011. In those days, Londis had ethics and looked after its retailers.”

They were given 90 days’ notice of termination last September because they weren’t buying enough weekly. “This notice was by phone from the area manager and followed by email.” Their leaving date was 8 December.

She says: “On 8 December the truck stop Spar on the A46 1.5 miles from here changed hands and, surprise, surprise, it is a Londis, as is the Teddington Hands garage at the end of A46 1.5 miles away!”

She believes that Londis/Tesco is after main road sites, whereas small shops like theirs are being sacrificed.

But there is a rainbow. “Now we don’t have to receive hundreds of pounds-worth of allocated tobacco that someone in the large white tower has deemed necessary to boost his bonus. We are free to decide our own destiny. Independent retailing will survive; you just have to be brave enough to go back to basic values.”

A Booker spokesperson responded: “We are sorry to hear of Ms Stringer’s concerns and although we do not discuss individual customers, we will happily pick up with her directly.”

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