At some point in the near future a Tesco Express store will open at the site of the defunct Two Half’s pub on Sydenham Road. A planning application has been lodged with the London Borough of Lewisham, that much we know. I’d like to take the opportunity to welcome Tesco to Sydenham and congratulate them on their choice, a choice we all as locals have made and after all, who wouldn’t want to be a part of such a great community? It does mean, however, that Sydenham Road is no longer one of the few High Streets in South London without a Tesco store.
Tesco are simply enormous. Based on different estimates anything between 1 in every £7 and 1 in every £5 spent in UK shops are spent at Tesco. The figures are huge. Debate on the Sydenham Town Forum has demonstrated that for every person who has identified problems with Tesco there is someone who looks forward to shopping there. Many of those who express dissatisfaction with the chain do so for different reasons, but it can’t be denied that there is a lot of anti-Tesco rhetoric out there.
Say No to T£sco was set up to harness this support, but without the rhetoric. It is an entirely new type of pressure group. Rather than concentrate on slamming Tesco, a shop that is destined to open anyway and breaks no laws in doing so, we would prefer to concentrate on demonstrating that there is no need for a Tesco store in Sydenham in the first place.
Say No to T£sco is advertising space, it is information, it is a cheerleader for the many shops on Sydenham Road who have no advertising budget. Our plan (and it is an untested one) is to surf the wave of publicity that Tesco operate on and its brand ubiquity and use it to benefit many of the other shops on Sydenham Road. We are not making a moral or ethical point and we are keen to steer away from Tesco-bashing, but we do feel there is an opportunity here to consolidate interest in the rest of the High Street. With a little publicity the opening of a new Tesco store will demonstrate just how little a new Tesco is needed.
We’re looking for people with local pride, with enthusiasm for Sydenham Road, for what it is and what it could become. Many will say there is room for Tesco alongside local shops. This may be the case, but Tesco may only be in Sydenham a few years and there is some evidence that the store’s steep ascent is beginning to level off so at some point we need to plan for a post-Tesco future. There is a huge appetite for shops that provide good produce but have a discernible local identity. We have some in Sydenham, but not enough.
We hope to concentrate activities around the opening of the Tesco Express store.
This is what we would like from you;
Let us know what you like about the independent shops on Sydenham Road. Review them, trumpet them. Are there any good deals on at the moment?
Follow Say No to T£sco @ NoTesco on Twitter and our upcoming Facebook page.
Share your comments and ideas and offer constructive suggestions. You can email me, Rod Taylor at email@example.com
Say No to Tesco.
“We believe that local people should be able to shape the future of their communities” Not our words, but those of Tesco PLC as part of their ‘community promise’. We believe this too – it is also, coincidently our community promise. We however, feel that our community is better off in a future without Tesco.
Say No to T£sco is a completely new pressure group, we have only been in existence for 3 weeks. There are huge constraints on how we operate, unlike Tesco we have a marketing budget of £0! However, I believe we can play a part in a consolidated marketing strategy for Sydenham Road. There are many potential futures, and the feeling is that collaboration with other organizations can join up the marketing of Sydenham’s small and independent retailers.
We are not affiliated with any other cause or political party, but there is room for us to expand. There are many wider issues here to do with retail regulations but we believe to effect the most change we need to start on a local level. Any advertiser worth its salt needs a slogan so just remember;
Say No to T£sco – planning for a post-Tesco future