We are only a month into the New Year and already we have our first commercial casualty.
Not a local pub or small business but one of the giants of the retail industry – Tesco.
I read and heard with sadness that our store in the Arndale Centre is to be closed in line with the national decline of the company profile. It beggars belief that they have actually mothballed a giant superstore in Cambridge before it has even opened.
I can honestly say I grew up with Tesco always being there in the Arndale. It has to me always had that local feel to it unlike most of the homogenised mega stores we see today and I honestly think that every time I pass it, it always looks busy. What future for other businesses now in the centre?
We still have two monoliths of the high street with Boots and Argos and of course Greggs – they are always busy! However, with more and more shopping conducted online would Argos survive now and will another cut price company come in to take business away from Boots? Another area of affected business is the taxi companies who provide that service to transport shoppers home after they have been to Tesco.
There is the cafe as well; I imagine a lot of their trade comes from Tesco regulars – what a pity that big companies forget to take into account the local economic impact of their decisions.
It seems to me that sooner than later we will just have cut price retailers vying for trade in the Arndale (I believe you can buy tins of food at cheaper prices from Poundland of all places) alongside all the market stalls that take up the middle floor space.
There is also the social impact of losing a town centre store, as gathered outside on the benches were folk who knew their friends would be there and I suppose for some their only interaction with folk. But hey, the big boys just don’t care anymore.
I suppose all eyes are now turned to the new build on the promenade – by stealth, the heart of our town is slowly being ripped out.