Sunday, 17 May 2009

Retail Demand and Assessment

So - we now have planning applications in from both Sainsbury's and Tesco's for edge of town stores out at Coopies Lane (and north Hepscott) - which M&S are expanding into the new town centre development, Iceland are returning to Bridge Street and Morrisons are about to expand too. Recession? What recession?

If they all happen, we may get plenty of choice for a while - but people seem to forget that 'competition' is only one stage in the market cycle, and a temporary one at that - cartels and monopolies are also part of market forces, and where there is competition, there are losers.

We already know that any jobs created are likely to be offset by job losses in shops put out of business or forced to cut back, and they'll be low-paid part-time jobs in the main anyway.

The White, Young, Green consultants' study on retail provision in Morpeth published by CMBC last September does not even include the local shops - butchers, greengrocers, bakers etc - in Morpeth as part of their assessment. They just looked at supermarkets for food shopping.

Morpeth shopping is special - is still special - precisely because we have locally owned shops like this. There are few market towns that have them. Even in Northumberland, Hexham, Alnwick and Berwick are in a steeper decline that Morpeth as far as shops go - partly because they all have edge of town supermarkets.

We should value what we've got and shop locally - for the good of the town and the local economy.

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