Campaigners are fighting against the growth of ‘the big four’ supermarkets, after it emerged this week that nearly 600 stores were approved by local planning authorities within the past two years.
Tesco, Asda, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s have added 480 stores in England alone over the past two years. Scotland has seen nearly 70 new stores opening, whilst Wales and Northern Ireland have gained over 30 between them. According to a recent BBC study, it appears that Tesco have the most successful application rate, with at least 392 stores being approved.
Fears within local communities are growing because campaigners believe they are putting independent traders out of business. New supermarkets are often placed on the edge of town, leading to fears that they will encourage people away from the high street.
Despite this, the supermarket chains insist they take careful consideration about the location of their new developments. They also claim that their new stores create jobs and help regenerate towns and cities. Sainsbury’s claim they are building stores in places they are currently under-represented, adding “we will have created 13,000 new jobs around the country in two years by March 2011.”
David Handley, FFA Chairman, believes that the British agricultural industry had been declining over the last 10 years because of the poor wages that supermarkets pay farmers.
However, some farmers feel they are benefiting from the influx of supermarkets across the country. Most farmers are given a rolling 12-month contract by Tesco, and are paid enough to ensure they could invest in their business. Tesco state that they have local buying teams who are dedicated to working with small, regional suppliers in order to have fresh, local produce in stores.