THE owner of a convenience store just feet away from a planned Tesco Express says Rugby is “saturated in supermarkets”.
The new Tesco store is set to be built on the site of the former Merry Monk pub in Hollowell Way, Brownsover, which is currently being demolished. Jay Dattani, who has been trading at the Spar store next door to the pub for 33 years, said he was worried for his and his staff’s livelihood.
“For three generations my family have looked after this store and the customers on this estate,” he said.
“We’ve always worked very hard to make sure shopping here is a good experience for people - I don’t just sit back and let the money come in.
“But right now people here feel threatened.
“It’s tough enough to compete with the supermarket down the road without another Tesco store. It feels like the big boys are muscling in as if we aren’t here, Rugby is being saturated in supermarkets, and I know from other shopkeepers that it’s causing revenues to plummet.”
He added: “I’m worried that once it opens it could be the beginning of the end for my livelihood. Tesco say their stores create jobs, but they never take into account the number of jobs lost elsewhere.”
Mr Dattani also says there are common misconceptions about pricing when it comes to smaller supermarkets.
“People think shopping at Express or Local stores will save them money, but what they don’t realise is that goods are much more expensive at a Tesco Express than they are at a Tesco supermarket - but people still tend to be drawn to them anyway.
“Soon the people of Brownsover may have no choice but to shop in one place - Tesco.”
Tesco spokesman Jonathan Simpson said that Local stores can boost footfall in areas and draw in extra business for neighbouring businesses.
He added: “The Express will help local residents as it will have a free cash machine and generate 20 jobs.”
Cllr David Cranham (Cons, Brownsover North), said that while he sympathised with other traders, there had been other cases in Rugby where supermarkets had opened and traders’ fears had been unfounded.
“If you look at what happened in Bilton when a Co-op opened on the site of the Three Cranes and the Tesco Express in Bilton, then you see that those new stores haven’t caused any neighbouring shops to close and both have proven popular with local residents.
“Sometimes I think people’s fears can be unfounded.”