Just over a year ago, before the Guardian “retired” their local beatblogger experiment, Tom Allen asked the question that more and more people still seem to be asking themselves: How many supermarkets do we really need?
Despite the protests, planning approval was granted and a new Tesco store opened at the start of the year. At the end of this month, the first associated closure is imminent.
There was a similar outcry here in Stockbridge when a Sainsbury’s Local opened up its doors. Lots of concern was voiced for the viability of local traders — although not to the extent of the anti-Tesco demonstrations in Bristol.
Things have certainly changed and not entirely for the worse. For a start, the local asian comestible stores have been forced to up their game. No longer can they get away with chatting away on the phone to their relatives in Pakistan or India, paying you scant regard. I’m not resorting to cheap stereotypes here, this is a common experience for a lot of people. It’s frankly a pleasure to experience friendly, genuinely helpful staff instead of being fobbed off with poor-quality produce and attitudes
This news came on the same day that it was announced that Mary Portas is to investigate the decline of the High Street. It seems that even the government is concerned with the proliferation of chain stores dominating the shopping landscape. Compare this with the clamour for a Wagamama to open in Edinburgh, the delight when a YO! Sushi appeared at Harvey Nichols or the anticipation of the long-awaited Apple Store.
Selective NIMBYism is rife it seems. It people want things to change then they should stop blaming these stores and start turning their attentions to the reasons that people want to shop there in the first place.