The residents of Portobello, Edinburgh’s seaside, have a long and proud tradition of supporting their local traders against attacks from predatory supermarket chains. Famously, the community rallied to protect the high street from a superstore on the Scottish Power site in the north-west of Portobello. There have also been several smaller campaigns to stop superstore developments at the “Big W” site off Milton Road and on the high street itself for ‘convenience’ stores.
Sadly, it seems the community has lost the fight to protect the high street and local traders from attack, as a “Sainsbury Local” is to open at the hardware store, 220 Portobello High Street. Obviously Sainsbury will be aiming to take trade from existing shops, reducing their margins and threatening their solvency.
There is some excellent research from the New Economics Foundation showing that supermarkets return very small amounts of the money spent there to the local economy, while local shops create local wealth.
I hope we still have enough resilience as a community to resist the destruction of our high street by supermarket chains.