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Burnage supermarket Survey 1 Year Report

The Study: Manchester Friends of the Earth have visited Burnage on 4 occasions since September 2005, the day before the opening of a 24 hour Tesco store roughly one mile from another 24 hour Tesco store. The visits have taken in Lane End Road, Fog Lane and part of Burnage Lane leading up to the site of the Tesco superstore on Lane End Road. The purpose of the visits has been to identify the businesses present, canvass their opinion of the store and its impact on their businesses and to track changes in these factors over time. Findings: 1) The Tesco store in Burnage has reduced retail viability and vitality in Burnage 2) This impact is felt by more than just the Grocery Sector 3) Three stores are already closed as a result of the store’s opening with others predicting they will follow. 4) Shopkeepers identified goods being sold at less than wholesale prices and provision of free parking as the main factors driving the distortion of the local market. 5) Residents complain that despite a large car park at the store many customers park outside their houses and use the pedestrian entrance to the store. While the new Tesco store appears to offer convenience and is able to undercut traders already present and provide cheaper goods this seems to be leading to loss of retail vitality and viability in the area as businesses are forced to close or alter the type of trading they carry out thereby reducing choice for the consumer and altering the street scene and community in Burnage.

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Burnage supermarket Survey 1 Year Report

Report: When Tesco recently won planning permission for a new 24 hour store in Burnage only a mile from the large 24 hr Didsbury store Manchester Friends of the Earth took the opportunity to find out just what impact a new store would have on retail vitality and viability in the surrounding area. In advance of the opening of this store Burnage Councillor Marilyn Taylor said “This [store] would create jobs and attract other retailers to the area” [1]. However, The National Retail Planning Forum, financed by the supermarkets, has found that there is a net loss of over 200 jobs within 15Km of the opening of a store In short the pressure on the local economy caused by the supermarkets forces small businesses to close. Partly this is because as large businesses the supermarkets can artificially lower prices but also they employ less people per pound of turnover than independent shops [2]. Repeat visits have revealed that in the 9 months since the store has opened the survey has had a negative impact on retail viability in the area. This impact has been felt across the range of retailers in Burnage not just those traditionally regarded as in competition with a grocery retailer. Referring back to the prediction that other retailers would be attracted to the area it is noticeable that there is only one new business in the area. This is the same owner converting part of his store California Wines into a Nail Bar in response to falling profits since the opening of the new Tesco store making it necessary for him to halve the size of his existing store. There is also an empty retail unit in a prime location that has remained empty since before the new store opened.

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Burnage supermarket Survey 1 Year Report

In the first visit, one day before the store opened, nearly 60 businesses were found in a half mile stretch providing a very wide range of services that all had different opinions on the new store. Feelings ranged from horror to happiness as some shopkeepers expected an increase in passing trade and others expecting unbalanced competition that they would not be survive. Within a month local residents were featured in Manchester newspapers’ complaining about the impact the store was having on the area. Residents reported that the store is lowering house-prices; generating constant traffic and causing noise and light pollution. [3] After six months and with the release of High Street 2015, a parliamentary report calling for controls on the supermarkets and the grocery sector, a second visit was carried out to see what had changed. There were still the same number of businesses but the wide spread of views was gone. At this visit none of the businesses had a positive view of the store. Two traders reported they were likely to close. Several had found turnover halve since the store opened and one store, California Wines, opposite the new Tesco store had had to close half of the shop’s floor space in order to survive (see above). California Wines proprietor, Dat Vo, told us he was happy to diversify and to compete but asked “How can I compete when Tesco can sell cheaper than I can buy at the wholesaler?” Paul Millington the local butcher said: “It is unfair that they can offer free parking. Our passing trade has fallen as people drive past to Tesco.”

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Burnage supermarket Survey 1 Year Report

At Broomhall Domestic Appliances who, at the start of the survey, hadn’t anticipated being affected by the Tesco store they said, “We can offer repairs and services and hold a wide range in stock but Tesco stocks just one model of Dyson vacuum and can undercut us so we have lost customers. If they start to sell domestic appliances it will devastate our business.” After a further three months these results were revisited in light of the inquiry into the proposed Tesco store on Chester Road It was clear from that visit that Tesco’s detrimental impact on the small traders in Burnage was continuing. Linda Cunliffe’s card store on Burnage Lane opened roughly a year ago but after financial losses of around £2000 in the first 6 months of the Tesco store opening her store is now for sale. As a whole year approached it was decided to visit again. This last visit was particularly depressing for Manchester Friends of the Earth. In just a few weeks three businesses had closed and another was running a closing down sale.

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Burnage supermarket Survey 1 Year Report

Local business owners said: “Business is very quiet since Tesco moved in” Big Saver, Fog Lane “Nobody is stopping here” A&A Newsagents, Fog Lane “The lane is a lot quieter. Is there anyone else that has two 24 hour Tesco’s so close together?” Corry’s Butchers. Fog Lane “My son had to close his grocers across the road.” Super Buy, Fog Lane “We offer a specialist service so can rely on our regulars since the new store opened. They can’t do what we do.” Lemon Tree Florist, Burnage Lane “It is positive that the derelict warehouse has been replaced and the streets improved but the store has had a negative impact on all the local shops” S&A Newsagents, Lane End Road “There’s much more traffic since the new store opened. Traffic often queues waiting to turn into Lane End Road. It’s quicker for me to walk home now.” Broomhall’s Domestic Appliances, Kingsway Conclusion: It is clear from the store’s first year of operation that it has had a significant negative impact on small traders in Burnage. For future applications elsewhere in the country it is important for councillors and council officers to note that there are other sites in this area where a smaller store could have been built. This would have given a better chance for a mix of retail to have been available and to have remained available for residents. Tesco however seems determined to build large stores. In Stockport it has built the Portwood store 20% larger than it has permission to and in Trafford is looking to replace a playing field with a store so large it needs to be built on stilts over its own car park. Visit www.manchesterfoe.org.uk or contact paul@manchesterfoe.org.uk to find out more about this campaign and others. Or visit www.realfoodguide.org.uk to find out how you can change your shopping and save the planet without costing the Earth.

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Burnage supermarket Survey 1 Year Report

Before:

After:

High-Resolution copies of these photos are available from Manchester Friends of the Earth on request.

References: 1) Tesco must wait for store ruling – Manchester Evening News, 09/06/03 2) 'The impact of out of centre food superstores on local retail employment' - Porter and Rastrick, The National Retail Planning Forum, January 1998 3) Tesco motorists are driving us to despair - South Manchester Reporter, 20/10/05 4) Friends of the Earth briefing ‘Good Neighbours? Community Impacts of Supermarkets.’ http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/briefings/good_neighbours_community.pdf

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