Shopkeepers fail to compete with supermarket giants

Kimberley general views.'Sainsbury's Kimberley.
Kimberley general views.'Sainsbury's Kimberley.

Shopkeepers in Eastwood say they are struggling with trade because of ‘impossible competition’ in the supermarkets.

The owners of the local card shops, newsagents and florists all told how they couldn’t compete with offers put on by big supermarkets, and how high street shops were ‘falling like dominoes’.

Manager of Cards Galore in Wellington Street, Lynn Cross, said : “It’s convenience. People can just go and pick a card while they do their shopping.

“We’ve been here ten years and it gets worse and worse every year.

“There’s supermarkets at either end of Eastwood now. It’s never been as bad as it’s been the last three or four years,” she added.

One shopkeeper in the town, who did not want to be named, said parents mostly took their children shopping around supermarkets, automatically influencing them.

He said high street shops were ‘duped’ and were ‘falling like dominoes’.

“Parents take their kids to the supermarkets to shop so they don’t even see the high street.

“It’s the parking as well - people want to go somewhere where the parking is free.

“The shops are falling like dominoes. They’re duped,” he added.

But he said people don’t realise you can negotiate with smaller retailers, and you can’t with supermarkets.

Fay Wade, the dispensing assistant at Boots, said the majority of her customers were pensioners who lived in sheltered accommodation nearby and could not get to the supermarket.

“We don’t sell a lot,” she said.

“We get people picking up online orders. A lot of our customers are the elderly because they can’t walk or drive to Morrisons.”

One of the workers at Dean and Co’s florist in Nottingham Road said they made most of their money from wedding and funeral flowers – services not offered by supermarkets.

She said stores such as Tesco and Morrisons bought in such high volume they could sell bunches of flowers for less than what she paid wholesale, making the competition impossible.

But she said more people would come to her shop if they knew more about the quality of the flowers, and how they were cared for.

“People don’t see that we are a specialised trade. We care for them in a completely different way to supermarkets.

“People want cheap over quality, but what they don’t realise is they will be throwing them in the bin in two days.”

Pavan Nam who owns John News and Wine in Nottingham Road said he reduced the price of his wine to compete with local supermarkets, but people still didn’t buy it.

“We are really quiet and it’s because people shop in the supermarkets. It’s convenience,” he said.

“We put the price down on everything but people just don’t really shop here. It’s impossible competition - they (supermarkets) are buying in big pallet loads and we are getting one or two cases in.”

But despite the popularity of supermarkets, Phil Hand at Hands Butchers said business was rosy.

Ironically, the Hilltop butcher said part of his success was down to the Sainsburys Local store opening opposite.

“It’s actually improved since Sainsburys has opened,” he said.

“People do their shopping and look over the road and they pop over.

“We’ve just had free parking at Hilltop increased up to an hour so that’s helped too,” he added.