An all-party group of MPs is set to report later this month that smaller shops and newsagents face a “very bleak future” as a result of competition form large out-of-town supermarkets. The report by the All-Party Group on Small Shops will put pressure on the Government to intervene in the £120bn sector.. The decline in the number of small shops, at a rate of 2,000 a year for the past five years, has coincided with the expansion of Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons.
Nick Goulding, chief executive of the Forum of Private Business, which represents 25,000 small and medium-sized businesses, said he is also deeply concerned about the impact of retail parks on high street shops.
Our members, based in towns near the big out-of-town shopping centres, say retail parks are like giant vacums, hovering up trade from nearby high streets.
Our concern is that the money spent in retail parks disappears straight out of the community and the region, providing only a few low-paid jobs whereas when money is spent in lcoal shops, it is retained in the community to drive growth and prosperity. The retail parks are parasites on communities. We urge shoppers to support their town centre independent shops, the backbone of the local economy and the heart of the community, where they will frequently find better cost, quality, choice and service.
Smaller shops can provide a lifeline to the elderly who are unable to travel far and provide a social value beyond just trade. They are part of the ‘glue’ which holds communities together.