Traders hold crisis talks as Tesco hits sales

Reporter:

Emma Mackintosh

TOWN centre traders held crisis talks in Llandrindod last week to discuss their anger and anxiety about their loss of customers since the arrival of Tesco.

The new store is situated on the wrong side of the train tracks for the traditional flow of footfall through the town, the meeting heard on Thursday, October 7.

Since the superstore’s opening week of trading, shops have recorded an average loss of earnings of 25 per cent, with some specific businesses having lost up to 60 per cent in revenue.

The supermarket has definitely brought shoppers from further away, said County Councillor Mike Hodges, owner of Hodges Food and Wine Store on Tremont Road, but many of them do not visit the town centre after they’ve finished their shop.

“Roughly 60 per cent of customers who do their major weekly shop at a big supermarket will then go straight home,” said Cllr Hodges, who attended the traders’ meeting on Thursday.

“We’re losing 25 per cent, week on week, which has surprised a lot of people because they thought our business wouldn’t be affected.”

Around 25 businesses from across the town were represented at the meeting, many of whom will not have experienced a recession or major competition before, said Cllr Hodges.

“Myself and my wife have experienced this loss of custom twice before but many other businesses in the town haven’t. We’ve had to substantially cut back and only destiny will tell if our business will survive.

“My grandfather had the business throughout the Depression and held down four jobs to make ends meet.

“It’s a difficult time for all businesses, particularly the town centre traders who are finding life hard post-Tesco. Big names have shown an interest in opening stores in Llandrindod but we need them on the Middleton Street side of town.”

This was the second meeting in a fortnight to be organised by Llandrindod businesses, who are not operating as an official Chamber of Trade but simply Llandrindod Trading Group.

Redirecting the flow of traffic down Middleton Street could help the situation in the town centre, added Cllr Hodges.

“Myself, Cllr Millington and Cllr Gary Price have suggested this as a simple measure which could save Middleton Street.”

Meetings have been arranged for the coming weeks with Powys County Council’s Highways department and the results could be known as soon as a week on Thursday.

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