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How chains damage UK communities

Tesco takes one in every three pounds spent in the UK. That’s an awful lot of money that used to go to your local butcher, baker, greengrocer, hardware shop, corner shop, petrol station, clothes shop, etc.

Between 1997 and 2002, 50 specialised stores including butchers, bakers, fishmongers and newsagents closed every week. In May 2005 the Institute of Grocery Distribution revealed the loss of 2,157 owner-run corner shops. We lost 1,079 the year before, showing a disturbing rise in the rate that family-run shops like corner shops are being forced to give up the ghost.

A recent Mintel survey of shopping patterns commented that “arguably the biggest threat to smaller towns and the high street is increased provision of convenience items by major grocery superstores”.

A study in Fakenham, Norfolk, found that town-centre food retailers experienced a 64% decline in market share following the opening of an out-of-town supermarket. The number of convenience food stores fell from 18 to 13, and the number of vacant shops rose by 33%.

Friends of the Earth estimates that only 1 to 2% of supermarket turnover comes from food obtained from local providers (within 30 miles).

A report by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Small Shops stated: “Many small shops [in the UK] will have ceased trading by 2015 with few independent businesses taking their place. Their loss, largely the result of a heavily unbalanced trading environment, will damage the UK socially, economically and environmentally.”

If this has piqued your interest, go visit www.supermarket-sweep-up.com

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