It is a constant source of amazement to me just how much store building is being carried out by the multiple grocers.
In the good times, they build. In the bad times, they build. When their market share is growing, they build; and when their market share is declining, they build even more. If, as has been the case in recent years, the convenience sector outstrips growth in the large store sector, then they build c-stores, but they continue to build supermarkets too. And, while hypermarkets become less successful due to the non-food shopper moving increasingly online, they keep trying to build these too.
So every counter-attack has to be applauded, and I’m glad to report that local opposition has checked the multiple onslaught in Newport and Basingstoke, temporarily at least. Successes like this are few and far between though, and fighting the multiples can be tough. Paul Fisher has had to take a tough decision to sell up to Sainsbury’s because first Tesco and then Waitrose had already wounded his family’s 100-year old business. And also consider Jonathan James, who has been the target of a hate campaign because he opposed a supermarket development that his town does not want or need.
At C-Store, we are not anti-retail or opposed to success, it’s just that we believe that the shopper is best-served by diversity and choice. And we unashamedly stick up for independent retailers who have a passion to make their customers happy.
So among the many set-backs we like to celebrate the occasions where local people have put the multiples expansion plans on hold, and we will continue to do so.