A FAMILY-run corner shop could face closure after nearly 20 years, because of competition from a recently-opened Tesco Express shop in Oxford’s Abingdon Road.
Your Local Top Up store, formerly JK’s Newsagent, at the corner of Abingdon Road and Whitehouse Road, could have to shut within a year, claims its manager.
The store has been spent £20,000 on a revamp to bring in more customers, but manager Kulwant Singh is still not optimistic about its future.
He said that three years ago the shop made enough money to support four families, but now it only supported his immediate family, leaving others to find new jobs.
Mr Singh, 40, who runs the shop with his wife Jasbar, said: “For all the shops around here, customers are not coming in any more.
“All the shops down this road were happy. We each got our own customers. Now I see people walk past with Tesco bags. Our footfall has gone down a lot. If the situation goes on like this, I will have to close down in a year.”
The new Tesco Express
Mr Singh said that the St Aldate’s Tesco, which is closer to his store, affected his trade when it opened four years ago, but the new Abingdon Road shop, which has a car park, had made matters worse.
Mohammad Afzal, who has run the Nisa Local shop opposite the new Tesco for 30 years, also said he had seen a “big difference” in trade.
Mr Afzal, 77, said: “Of course it’s a big difference. It’s up to the people if they want to keep us here. I believe in democratic choice, but when they [Tesco] have such big muscle, they will push everybody. The city will suffer if more shops close down.”
The Tesco Express shop, on the corner of Weirs Lane and Abingdon Road, opened in February on the site of the former Fox and Hounds pub.
Oxford city councillor John Tanner, who lives in Sunningwell Road, off Abingdon Road, said: “I have lived in this area for 30 years, and shops come and go. If you’re in business, sometimes competitors come along who take your business, and it’s important we always have competition.
“It’s also important that Tesco doesn’t become the only store.”
Mr Tanner said he had not yet been in the new Tesco, and preferred shopping in the Nisa.
Tesco spokesman Jack Pearson said: “We’re pleased to be serving the local community “We find that our stores trade very well alongside other retailers, helping to keep trade on parades and high streets by giving people another reason to shop locally.”