Over a hundred Tesco Express stores a closing every week, with the majority being turned into pubs, a new report from the pressure group the Campaign for Mediocre Shopping Experiences warned today.
Store manager Graham Lyons of Crediton, Devon knows the problem only too well. He lamented, ‘We used to be at the heart of our local community. We were proud to serve our village with all their shopping needs. Scratch cards, overpriced Original Flavour Pringles, rapidly withering Fruit and Veg. But these days it’s all changed. Now it’s all about, roaring fires, superbly kept ales and general bonhomie. Personally I think it’s disgusting’
For others though, it’s not simply about society’s changing habits. It’s also a very personal tragedy.
Brian Walters, whose former shop in Stow on the Wold is now known as the ‘Red Lion’ explained, ‘Depressingly monotonous convenience stores have been in my family for generations. I’ve done my family tree and we were in the trade as far back as 2004. That’s nine years of tradition and blood, sweat and toil down the drain.’
‘My Granddad once sold a packet of BIC razors to Dennis Waterman, and I’m reasonably sure Andrew Flintoff once popped in for Twenty Lambert and Butler. You just won’t get stories like that anymore. Can you imagine Waterman or Flintoff visiting a pub? I don’t think so!’
Russell Lomax, Tesco’s Head of Soul Shivering Ubiquity commented, ‘This is an unfortunate sign of the times. We keep hearing that there’s still a demand for our traditional methods of joyless uniformity and dismal customer service, but at the end of the day, it’s becoming less and less cost effective for us keep it up. And it’s never been the Tesco way to mercilessly exploit something until we’ve wrung every last drop of profit out of it.’