We all know how convenient supermarket food shopping is. You can park for a start. You can get all the shopping done quickly. There’s a large variety of stuff in a small space. And, best of all, it’s cheap. Own-brand discounts! Two-for-one sales! Close to sell-by-date bargains! Now Tesco is planning to supersize itself in Lewes. It wants to increase its size by 1,614 square metres. This will mean cheap clothes and shoes too. Cheap stationery for school kids. Cheap electrical goods. All with easy-access parking. And apparently all this isn’t just good for us, and good for Tesco. According to the supermarket’s propaganda, it’ll be good for local traders too. “We have the opportunity through this extension,” say the company, “to work together with the town centre traders to limit the existing massive leakage of expenditure out of the local area.”

This cynical press release made us very angry. We do not believe that Tesco management gives two hoots about Lewes’ local traders. In fact nobody knows better than Tesco management what happens when their supermarkets supersize themselves, because they’ve seen it all over the country. The soul goes out of the town centre as private traders go bust. All the towns-people end up funnelling into Tesco, buying cheaper goods in a town which no longer has any personality. The increase in the size of Tesco will create 50 new jobs. But how many local livelihoods will it destroy? Not many of us can spare the money or time to go anywhere but the supermarket to do the bulk of our shopping. But we must do whatever we can to protect our town from this insidious threat. Enjoy the week.

Flocks by night: A Sussex scene by Trevor Kemp
(courtesy of the Thebes Gallery) Cover: Christian Thompson
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