A Lifestyle Express retailer in Glasgow, Mukesh Bagha, got in touch with a problem that was actually solved by a High Court ruling 30 years ago. His licensed c-store has issues with the newsagency three doors down over what products each store should be selling. He says: “The landlords who are the local council have now got involved and are trying to sort things out. I was given your details from the previous owner who said you had helped him out with a similar situation a few years back.”
And here is the ruling: in 1985 a High Court decided that ‘grocery’ and ‘provisions’ mentioned in leases meant those lines sold in a major multiple; therefore a convenience store or corner shop may sell any of the same lines sold by multiples like Sainsbury’s or Tesco, unless any of these lines are specifically excluded in a lease.
In the 80s this was more of an issue than it is now. By the 1990s it got all blurry. The stranglehold wholesalers had over just who they would supply with newspapers was broken by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission and reform of alcohol licensing allowed a lot more retailers to sell booze. Over the course of this modernising CTNs started adding grocery lines to their mix. It then became, and remains, a free-for-all.