Monday, April 28, 2014
Independent traders are positive about their future in a seaside town six months after the arrival of a supermarket giant.
Despite a 17-year planning battle and strong community objections, Tesco opened its doors on Cromer Road, Sheringham, on October 24 last year.
People running businesses including a bakery, butcher, fishmonger and newsagent have said the store has not impacted on trade and they are keeping their regular customers as well as attracting visitors.
They said despite the supermarket car park being full most of the time – one of the planning conditions was three hours free parking – a lot of people did not go into Tesco.
Paulette McClean, 68, part-time shop assistant at the Craft Bakery, said: “The business is running just as smoothly as it was before Tesco opened. The car park is full because people go for the free parking but a lot of people say the store is empty.”
She was worried about the arrival of Tesco because she did not want to lose her job.
Mrs McClean added people continued to shop at the bakery because of word-of-mouth recommendations.
“People are willing to pay the money because the bread is fresh and good. They come for quality,” she said.
Allan Webster, manager of J&D Papworth Butchers, reiterated sales had not been affected by the supermarket and the free parking was a town asset.
Ted Wood, from P&J Scotter fishmongers said: “We won’t get the true result of the impact from Tesco until the summer. We are doing fine. We have no qualms with Tesco.”
He added holidaymakers liked the fish shop because it was a “novelty”.
Vatsala Perera, who runs Cromer Road Stores, said the newsagents lost business when Tesco first opened but former customers have returned.
Stephen Fulcher, co-proprietor of Dawn Fresh grocers, said the footfall had decreased on average by 10pc since Tesco opened but one factor could be bad weather.
There were fewer customers on good weather days but he was confident the business would survive.
Mr Fulcher urged people to support the independent high street and said “use it or lose it”.
He said: “There are not many towns like Sheringham. It is thriving and it would be a shame if we lost that.”
Andy Bullen, secretary for Sheringham Chamber of Trade and Commerce said: “Independent shops are not necessarily more expensive than Tesco. They are cheaper in some cases.
“The big advantage with Sheringham is you have to come down the high street to get to the beach.”
He added people were more likely to use the store for grocery top-ups, not weekly shops, because of its small size.
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