Shop wars – supermarkets do battle in Sunderland

Sunderland from “Green Hill”

With new big-name retailers opening throughout Wearside, buyers are getting provided much more option when it comes to filling their kitchen shelves.

And with three new branches in the pipeline in coming months, the competition is probably to get even hotter for the new and the old retailers in the city.

But issues have already been voiced by small Sunderland retailers, who fear the big brands will put them out of customers and therefore business.

And some of the big supermarket chains  themselves have come to be involved within a war of phrases of whether there’s left enough business around the area.

Sainsbury’s in Wessington Way opened in early March and Tesco at Sunderland Retail Park is going to open in late June.

Ideas for an Aldi at Carley Hill have already been delayed while the Council considers a report about the influence it might have on retail in the area. With an close look at the small and independent retailers there.

Residents of Hall Farm, near the currently existing Morrisons chain, already raised their concerns on Aldi opening a second store there by early 2014. The main issue here are not the local retailers but the possibility of huge traffic jams this new store might cause.

Another war of words started when Tesco announced to consider the Peel Centre in Washington as a new location in the city.

The company operating the mall has issued a public warning that refusal could mean the loss of numerous jobs and a high priced legal battle with the city council – which could cost a lot of taxpayers money-. Another field of legal battles are the operators of existing shops in this mall, claiming this move might hurt their business and therefore these business owners are considering rejecting the new plans.

The government, rather than the council, will determine this summer if the plans will go ahead soon.

The newest store openings and these inside the pipeline will put Sunderland in a unique position of a small town with about a dozen supermarkets.

The latest market share figures showed Sainsbury’s were in advance of Tesco within the city and claimed a 7 per cent improve in the last few weeks.

And BrandIndex, which tracks customer views of value, noted Sainsbury’s value score was up to 26, though Tesco lagged around 12.

Chris Stevens, retailer manager at the new Sainsbury’s shop, said the company is delighted with the supermarkets performance since opening and is happy on taking the competition of the new rivals.

“It gives shoppers a option, and they can then determine exactly where they desire to go to,” he mentioned. “What’s fantastic now is that the persons of Sunderland store in Sunderland, plus the raise in footfall added benefits other merchants.”

Works are continuing on Tesco’s new shop in Roker Avenue, ahead of its soon coming start.

The business goal to boost sales, possessing launched a advertising, which compares costs at the till and provides customers discount coupons if their purchasing would happen to be less expensive somewhere else.

A spokesman for Tesco said: “Our recently released Cost Promise is proving incredibly well and we’re certain it’s going to go down nicely at our new store.

“We’re definitely delighted to be bringing forward this multi-million pound expense for the nearby location and for local shoppers.

“We’re confident our new shop will demonstrate a genuine hit and offer the range, good quality and fantastic support that our consumers anticipate.”

A spokeswoman for Asda, that has stores in Boldon, Leechmere, Pennywell, Seaham and Peterlee, mentioned the company is just not concerned by Wearside’s rising grocery store trade.

“We think on the subject of competitors, the true winners are consumers,” she said.

“So we welcome the arrival of Sainsbury’s and Tesco.”

A spokesperson for Morrisons, which has retailers in Seaburn, Castletown and Doxford Park, mentioned a refurbishment towards the Seaburn retailer will preserve clients from buying elsewhere.

He said: “Our customers have provided us fantastic feedback since we refurbished our location in Seaburn in October, and we’re confident we have got the proper offering for the area.”


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