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Day: April 11, 2011

Are nine Tesco Express stores too many for one small-seaside town?

Or you could argue Worthing is a large-seaside town. It has a population in the region of 100,000 so is that large or small? You decide.

On this evening’s episode of South Today (yes I still watch South Today despite living in Essex – I’m so cool – Sally Taylor ftw) the lead story was about the acceptance by the borough council to a planning application for a ninth Tesco Express in the town (it also has one Tesco Extra). Tesco have long been a force in the high-street but in recent times they have been spring up everywhere in the form of these smaller Tesco Express stores.

Around where I live there are several – a quick google search shows that there are six within five miles of my location, Thorpe Bay, Southchurch, Southend-on-Sea, Westcliff-on-Sea, Chalkwell and Leigh-on-Sea. So basically everywhere where there is a handful of stores sees a Tesco Express. Is this too many? I personally happen to think that it is. Back to Worthing and having a store for every 10,000 people in that area. It seems like saturation to me but obviously they wouldn’t build unless they believed they had a demand for it. However they claim that this 9th Tesco Express store will generate 775 jobs in the town – excuse me?

In my local Tesco Express I think I know every single person of the 10-12 strong workforce by sight. I know they’ll be jobs in putting the store together but these aren’t long-term jobs so how can a small convenience store provide 775 jobs? If it can then Tesco really don’t have a clue – therefore I suspect this figure might be misleading somewhat.

The Tory led council say that they ‘reluctantly’ approved the plans because there is no evidence that by building it would directly harm other local businesses. Tesco themselves refused to be interviewed but released a statement which said that by building the store it will in fact drags more trade to the area and everyone else will also see the benefit. I don’t exactly see people travelling for miles to go to a Tesco Express somewhat therefore locals businesses will surely suffer – certainly other small local supermarkets/shops as people will have even easier access to a local Tesco Express.

I know it isn’t a big thing but this is a worrying glimpse into the future. Tesco have been quite brilliantly managed and were at a point a few years ago where one in every eight pounds being spent on the high street was spent in Tesco. With the growth like Japanese knotweed of their Tesco Express empire then I’m sure that number will rise. Tesco is what it ois and in this era of more people shopping in the bigger stores then it leaves the smaller shopkeeper struggling and when you throw in a Tesco Express in every part of a town then there is a real problem.

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