Wayne Fleming has run a Spar store in The Triangle district of Bournemouth for the past five years. Although the shop is only 600sq ft in size, he has built takings up from only £4,000 per week when he started to more than £26,000 at the peak of the summer.
Wanting to move into a larger shop, he contacted an agent and was told that several large chains were interested in his business, which they would have the option of transferring into a larger, vacant unit over the road. However, he was told that every one of the interested parties pulled out on the basis that Tesco was rumoured to be opening an Express convenience store in the area.
"The whole industry is terrified of Tesco," said Wayne. "Even though Tesco has said it's not moving in, the fact that it was even looking at the area is enough to frighten everyone off.
"I was told by an agent that a buyer was happy to pay £185,000 for my business. Now I can't give it away - it's gone from healthy to worthless just on the basis of a few rumours."
Wayne's store has PayPoint and the Lottery. "My store is only 600sq ft but I take more than £20,000 a week - that's £35 per sq ft," says Wayne. "It's so difficult to do that in a small store - Tesco's own target is only £21 per sq ft.
"I realise that just because Tesco says it's not interested this week doesn't mean it can't come back next week and open loads of stores. But it shows how powerful it has become - even mentioning its name in the area can make a strong business like mine worthless to potential buyers."