Tesco has hit back at a Romsey retailer’s threat to quit the town if the supermarket giant’s proposed store gets the go-ahead. Department store, Bradbeers, has said it feared the impact on trade of such a store and would abandon its own multi-million pound expansion plan if the supermarket was approved. However, Tesco said it was not seeking to compete as a department store and argued its investment would help other town traders. Managing-director, Greg Davies, has said he would “seriously consider” moving if trade deteriorated enough in a letter of objection to Test Valley Borough Council planners on Tesco’s application for a store on a six-acre site at the Fairground Field site, part of the Broadlands estate. He has claimed that having the Tesco superstore could deter other businesses from investing in the town, or prevent others from starting new business. Bradbeers is considering adding 13,000 sq ft to its existing shop, a move that would create 30 jobs. Simon Petar, Tesco corporate affairs manager, said the company had been surprised by Bradbeers’ stance. He argued that Tesco’s proposal was for a small superstore selling predominantly groceries, not a department store and would not seek to compete with the extensive non-food goods on offer there. Mr Petar said: “Rather than being challenged by our plans, we fully expect other retailers in Romsey to benefit from our investment. We estimate that around £50 million is spent each year by local people on food shopping alone in other nearby towns. “We want to keep these shoppers in Romsey, spending money not just at our store, but also with other town centre traders.” He said trading was currently difficult for retailers, particularly non-food, with changing customers’ habits such as online shopping, but maintained that the store would keep people shopping locally.
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