Stat of the day: 87%

The percentage of new shop space given planning approval last year that went to the 'big four' supermarkets

by Elizabeth Anderson
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013
Bad news for retailers: hundreds of British high streets could be wiped out as a result of aggressive supermarket expansion, an organisation representing local shops has claimed.

The Association of Convenience Stores says almost 90% of all new retail space given planning permission since 2008 was awarded to the ‘big four’ supermarkets - Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons. It warns that these new stores, which are usually on the outskirts of towns, take shoppers away from small independents.

Supermarkets already account for 55p in every £1 spent in shops in the UK, and it seems to be having a disastrous effect on other stores: more than 12,000 independent shops in town centres closed in 2009 (although the recession probably played a role for some of those), meaning one in seven now stand empty.  

Some would argue that the death of independent shops started long ago as other chain stores began to overtake. The ACS warns that we’re in danger of becoming a nation of clone towns unless independent stores are given more support. Then again, having a Primark just around every corner does have its merits in emergencies...

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