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Town centre traders fear ‘death by thousand cuts’
12:00pm Wednesday 6th March 2013 in News
A CLAIM by Morrisons’ bosses that a new out-of-town store will create 1,600 new trips a week to Wallingford town centre has been rejected by a traders’ group.
Supermarket executives hosted a briefing at the town council offices last week which was attended by about 20 businesses.
But Morrisons was unable to persuade them that the new store on the Hithercroft estate would not damage town centre trade.
The supermarket’s research claimed 58 per cent of residents in the Wallingford catchment – equating to 12,217 people – shopped elsewhere for food.
The new store, traders were told, would “claw back” spending on food from Didcot to Wallingford.
They also claimed there would be 13,000 customers a week at their food store, with 1,600 new trips a week by shoppers from Morrisons to the town centre.
But Wallingford in Business spokesman Elaine Hornsby, who runs women’s clothes store First Edition in Market Place, said: “Although they provided facts and figures I’m afraid they did not allay traders’ fears in any way.
“I believe Morrisons will seriously damage trade in the town centre — it will be death by a thousand cuts.
“Morrisons presented lots of facts and figures but I think the supermarket will remove people from the town centre, not bring people in.”
Morrisons says the store will create £6.7m a year for the local economy, with 300 new jobs.