An Essex retailer is welcoming the arrival of an eighth Tesco outlet within five miles of his store.

Prithvinath Shetty, owner of Jay's Supermarket in Leigh, says he is unperturbed by the fact that Tesco is opening a new Express store just a stone's throw away from his, as he believes his customers will stay with him.

Prithvinath has already extended his opening times to be there for his customers 24 hours a day, and is planning further improvements to his customer services over the course of the next few weeks.

"I know all of my customers by name and they all know me," he said. "We are like a large family,

and that's our advantage. The multiples don't prioritise things like that."

He added: "It is also much quicker to shop here and it's also much more convenient. At Tesco you have to queue just to buy the smallest thing."

He added that he had already had a positive response to his new longer opening hours, and that local residents had assured him of their full support once

the new Tesco Express opens next month.

More than 1,000 local people signed a petition against the development. "A lot of people don't want Tesco here," Prithvinath said. "They're afraid it will bring so much hassle with it, such as shoplifting, noise and traffic."

Angry local residents erected large 'No to Tesco' and 'Go away Tesco signs in front of the development.

"All of my customers are backing me and say they will continue to shop here once Tesco Express opens, and I believe them," Prithvinath added.

"We're too strong a community to let it beat us."