11/23/2005

The Tesco-ing of Inverness

Following upon Dennis' post below relating to the closure rate amongst Scotland's independent retailers, it appears that the city of Inverness holds the UK record for the highest proportion of its food sales going to one company, with a whopping 51% going to Tesco.
It's interesting to see how various interests react to these figures.
According to the 'Inverness Courier', John Bridgeman, who investigated the food retailers for the Office of Fair Trading in 2000 and cleared them of market abuse, said 'the market had changed dramatically since then and another inquiry was justified'.
The local MP, perfectly understandably, wants a better deal for the local farmers.
Charles Morgan, the spokesman for the local traders', said,
"I suppose Tesco has to be congratulated for doing what nobody else has been able to do - create a monopoly for themselves in Inverness,"; but added that,"No matter how many Tescos we have, we can still compete more than favourably on quality, service and personality - factors sadly missing from the more sterile environment of their glorified shed operation."
Way to go, Mr. Morgan!
But the last word has to do to Simon Cole-Hamilton, the local Chambers of Commerce wallah, who's reported to have said, "Change is going to happen and the retail market will have to adjust to these new circumstances, "; and "Generally, the reports we are getting suggest that retailing in the city is still strong".
So it looks like the small traders of Inverness will have to continue to endure this prolonged phase of creative destruction.
According to the report linked to above, Inverness is the fastest growing city in the UK. I have had occasion to post on this topic before, when it became clear that the city's population growth rate of at least 6% in the last 12 months could be entirely ascribed to post Nice Treaty Polish migration.
Tesco clearly couldn't give the proverbial monkey's toss if they have 51% of the food market in Inverness or Little-Katowice-On-The-Ness - however, if there are Poles working in Tesco in Inverness; and if there are local traders in Inverness going out of business because they are required to compete on equal terms with businesses like Tesco which are able to employ massive economies of scale, including lower wage rates, to their advantage; then one could think of few clearer reasons why the mass migration of people has to stop now.

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