Letchworth shopkeepers unhappy as Tesco Express opens on pub site

SHOPKEEPERS have voiced their dismay following the opening of a controversial Tesco store.

Businesses at The Parade in Letchworth GC have criticised the supermarket giant after the mini-supermarket opened just behind the shopping precinct at the former site of The Pelican pub last Friday.

Sudager Aujla, franchisee at the Nisa supermarket, extended the hours of his store in Southfields from 7am to 10pm in April in a bid to combat the competition from the Tesco Express after his bid to keep the pub open failed.

He said: “We’re quite a bit down and Tesco has had a big impact during the first few days. Nobody wanted it but then people will still go in there.”

Grange Pharmacy owner Vijay Gandecha said: “People with placards were promoting Tesco in front of The Parade shops and I think that’s quite cheeky of Tesco. They could’ve gone somewhere else to do that, anywhere but The Parade.

“There is nothing we can do now Tesco is open but there is nothing new that Tesco is offering. Everything they do we already have at The Parade.”

Hitesh Chandarana, owner of the Grange Wine Store, was also unhappy with Tesco promoting the store at the shops describing it as “disgusting” behaviour.

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He added: “On Sunday I found it was a little bit quieter this week but it’s too early to say what affect it will have. I probably won’t know the situation we’re in until after Christmas.

“I think a lot of people on the estate are very loyal and the difference is we know our customers on a first name basis. That’s something that Tesco won’t be able to provide.”

Responding to the criticism, a Tesco spokesman said: “We are absolutely delighted with the feedback and response we have received from customers. We look forward to becoming part of the community, not only to serve local people but to complement other shops and services and to keep people shopping locally.”

At the launch of the Tesco Express in Pelican Way, a cheque for �500 was donated to the Angels Support Group, which supports parents and carers of children in North Herts with autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorders.

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