Dave Newman reflects on running his business in Britain’s latest ‘Tesco town’

As an independent retailer its hard not to be concerned about the relentless growth of Tesco. It’s every store owner’s nightmare that a Tesco Express opens on their doorstep. 

In Hastings where I am based, they have only recently opened a 80,000sq ft Extra and they have now followed this up with the opening of a Express in the town centre.

I feel fortunate that neither are directly in my catchment area, but I fear for the newsagent that trades directly opposite the Tesco Express and other retailers in the area. They will find it difficult to compete. 

I made a point of visiting the new store and it’s impressive, but then with all the resources at their disposal, that’s not surprising. While their product range was good, some of their prices were higher than RRP and most certainly higher than my stores.
I couldn’t understand why they chose to sell a core impulse line, Coke 500ml, at £1.01. At £1 or 99p it makes much more sense - and incidentally I sell at 95p.

The local press as always give Tesco support. I assume its large advertising budget helps, and the emphasis is on how many new jobs they are creating. 

What is never mentioned is how many jobs are lost or at risk from other retailers. It would be interesting to compare headcount against turnover between the multiples and independents, as I think this would clearly demonstrate the true impact of a Tesco Express on the high street. 

Then there is the issue of how much they take out of the local economy. I have always viewed the multiples as a large funnel channelling profits out of the town, whilst as a local retailer I use local suppliers and tradesman and most of my profit is reinvested in the town.