Middlesbrough retailer Bay Bashir has halved the local competition after buying the neighbouring Spar store and closing it down.

Bay, who owns Belle Vue Convenience Store, now rents out the two units previously occupied by the James Hall-owned Spar to a second-hand furniture business and a fresh sandwich shop. Only a Tesco Express further down the precinct remains as competition.

“I heard last year the store was going to close so I bought the property so no one in a similar line of business could open. My sales have since risen by 18-20%,” he told C-Store.

Footfall has increased by about 150 people a day, with his in-store ATM and PayPoint benefiting in particular.

Bay also took on the three other adjacent units owned by James Hall, which remain rented out to a pizza take-away, flower shop and post office. He now earns about £45,000 in rent from the five units.

“The economy is slowly picking up around us,” Bay added.