Dear Mr Norman (2)
We received a copy of your e-mail which was sent to the 'Save our Sheringham" website. As the independent owners of the Budgens store we welcome any feedback from our customers and would like to address some of the points you made.
Firstly on the issue of the prices in our store - I think it's very unfair to ask any independent retailer to compare their prices to one of the biggest retailers in the world.We do monitor our prices regularly and we know that we are more expensive than the major supermarkets. The reasons for this are firstly our location and secondly not being able to compete with the buying power of the major supermarkets.We don't attempt to take on the major supermarkets on price as this is simply a battle we will not win.
What we do compete on is convenience and customer service and I think in those categories we do quite well. We always have over 300 promotions running in the store at any time which offer great value for money deals.We also offer many local products in order to support the local economy, and can respond quickly to customer requests for new products.
We agree that Sheringham needs a bigger supermarket which is why we applied for and secured planning permission for a 7,500 square foot store. The fact that some councillors subsequently signed a deal with Tesco which ruled out the possibility of this store has never been publicly or privately explained to us.
You say that in Sheringham 'no other supermarket can apply for planning permission in the town' - this is simply untrue. The deal that North Norfolk District Council signed with Tesco in 2003 only dealt with council-owned land. Any retailer is entitled to apply for planning permission on any private land in Sheringham. We have not given up and will continue to pursue the council and any other possible options.
You say we are 'profiteering on a scale which is alien to Tesco' - we wonder what you think of Tesco making over £2 billion a year in net profit. Is this not profteering on the largest scale??
You also state that Sheringham's unique appeal 'will not be affected by a new Tesco store'. We find this impossible to believe. Sheringham's unique appeal is the vibrancy of it's high street. If Tesco moved in they will take on every retailer in a price battle. Shop closures will be inevitable. You may find that some different retailers will move in but we don't think a high street with Tesco and the Carphone Warehouse will have any unique appeal for the tourists that Sheringham depends on.
But it is not only the tourists and business owners that will lose out. Residents will face traffic chaos on the edge of town as the extra traffic that Tesco plan to bring in will choke the narrow entrances to the town. They will also unfortunately lose their choice - Tesco doesn't want to trade alongside other retailers as we do but to be the only retailer in the town.
These are not unrealistic predictions as it is a story that has been borne out in hundreds of towns accross Britain.
We want to see a sustainable future for Sheringham's business owners and residents alike. Not a future which completely changes the face of Sheringham forever.
Paul Burnell & Jinx Hundal