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Guardian Comment: What does local mean anyway?

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It is one of those hotly debated topics. We need investment in our city centre but when inviting those wielding the cash – i.e. the big names – are we doing so at the expense of our homegrown local shops and businesses?

With one 100-year-old store blaming it’s demise on the nearby Tesco Express and Sainsbury’s Local, it echoes a story told in town centres across the UK.

Bigger names are needed to attract shoppers, increase footfall and provide that investment.

But inevitably those shops can sell products cheaply, undercutting traditional businesses with clever marketing and high turnover.

In particular the emergence of the ‘express, local, etc etc, brands’ have seen local shops replaced with mini supermarkets that provide jobs and services but are also the nail in the coffin for local entrepreneurs.

It is difficult to see that, while we value convenience and price above all, much will change. A way must be found to preserve our small shops through a happier compromise.

 

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