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Store wars

August 14th, 2010 (12:08 am)
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While walking from lunch at a large establishment in Jericho to the History Faculty Library, I diverted into the new Tesco Metro in the former Borders on Magdalen Street. Previous indications (such as the glimpse into the shop when it was being refitted) were that the basement wouldn't be used for retail, but in fact a new escalator has been fitted on the southern side, and about half the basement is open for retail. It's the largest Tesco Metro I've seen, and - as I told sir_rosealot, who was emerging from underground clutching the latest Adrian Mole - reminds me very much of the old Co-Op on Cornmarket, albeit with a much larger ground floor, and no sign of a huge pile of cardboard boxes for students to make off with for packing purposes. Unlike the Sainsbury's Local two doors down, this Tesco is selling phones and MP3 players, stationery and a small range of TVs and DVD players. They should make a lot of money from new students in Michaelmas.

With the openings on St Aldate's and now Magdalen Street in the last few weeks, Tesco have made a two-pronged attack on the city centre; but Sainsbury's are due to retaliate by acquiring the former Threshers site at the east end of Magdalen Bridge, thus attracting some of the student trade from Tesco on Cowley Road. Some independent traders may very well be caught in the crossfire between the giants.

Comments

Posted by: Pellegrina (pellegrina)
Posted at: August 14th, 2010 09:59 am (UTC)
waiting cat

What Oxford needs is not more supermarkets where there are already supermarkets.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: August 14th, 2010 11:30 am (UTC)

I hadn't expected Tesco to take that site - the only word I'd heard (not that I'm exactly in the loop) was that Debenhams might find a use for the space, but evidently Tesco had the funds and the business plan.

Posted by: Adilo Creamon (the_marquis)
Posted at: August 14th, 2010 06:28 pm (UTC)

I think Tescos will always have the funds, and probably have a whole staff devoted to finding new sites for yet more market dominance.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: August 14th, 2010 06:40 pm (UTC)

They are in the process of selling land they bought back in the early 1990s by the ring road's bridge over the Cherwell, back when it looked as if the 'Tin Hat' northern by-pass relief road was going to be built and parts of the green belt within it might have been released for development...

Posted by: wellinghall (wellinghall)
Posted at: August 15th, 2010 09:08 am (UTC)

and probably have a whole staff devoted to finding new sites for yet more market dominance

I have no doubt about it. To be fair, I'm sure the other major supermarkets also have such departments.

Posted by: widsidh (widsidh)
Posted at: August 15th, 2010 08:45 pm (UTC)

tesco's seems particularly efficient though...

Some satirist somewhere suggested that if you were not careful, you might find a Tesco Metro had opened in your bedroom wardrobe...

Posted by: Adilo Creamon (the_marquis)
Posted at: August 15th, 2010 09:44 pm (UTC)
Doing stuff

Indeed and in Wolves up until recently they were telling the council to make a compulsory purchase of 90% of a site from Sainsburys to give it to them as their plan for a new shops/offices/let accommodation would employ 100 or so more people (in their proposed shop on the site) than that proposed by Sains in a similar plan. I think Sains have now had that turned over in the High Court (and anyway Tesco had 100% of a perfectly good site on the other side of the town centre).

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: August 15th, 2010 10:09 pm (UTC)

The more power to as many other groups (particularly the much-expanded and improved Co-operative, which was mercifully saved a decade ago from its near-death experience at the hands of venture capitalists) the better; though the acquisition of Netto UK will probably put Asda in a position to start throwing its weight around a few years down the line, not necessarily to everywhere's advantage given that, as in Wolves and Oxford, there must be an effective duopoly in many towns, and as good as a monopoly in some, such as Bicester where there are six or seven Tescos.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: August 15th, 2010 10:05 pm (UTC)

Gives 'in the closet' a whole new meaning...

Posted by: Adilo Creamon (the_marquis)
Posted at: August 15th, 2010 09:45 pm (UTC)
AlecSt - batting

See my reply to widsidh

Posted by: wellinghall (wellinghall)
Posted at: August 14th, 2010 05:15 pm (UTC)

Nowhere needs more supermarkets.

Posted by: nineveh_uk (nineveh_uk)
Posted at: August 14th, 2010 02:59 pm (UTC)

I didn't know there was a St Aldate's Tesco, not nor a new Sainsbury's planned. I can't really feel that this is what central Oxford needs (a decent bakery or the plain variety, on the other hand, would be most welcome).

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: August 14th, 2010 03:01 pm (UTC)

Good point... The Natural Bread Company have recently opened an outlet in Woodstock, but I've not got a great sense of their range yet.

Posted by: widsidh (widsidh)
Posted at: August 14th, 2010 07:00 pm (UTC)

Agreed - but only Tesco's likes can pay Oxford rents...
(grumble)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: August 14th, 2010 09:28 pm (UTC)

There aren't very many which can pay Woodstock ones, which is probably why The Natural Bread Company is so small...