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Retail competition is no longer as much about having store space - Professor Mike Waterson

Mike WatersonMike Waterson is a Professor of Economics from the University of Warwick. Responding to news that Tesco is to close a several stores, he said: "It is understandable that Tesco has made the decision to cease development of a number of the sites it owns, and also understandable, but perhaps more surprising, that it is closing a number of stores.

"Tesco is rather exposed to trends in shopping that are moving away from the very large stores for large shopping trips. More people are shopping on the internet and so do not need to visit a store often, meaning that competition is no longer as much about having the store space.

"Additionally, however, Tesco is facing increased competition from the “German discounters”, which generally have smaller stores and lower store costs. In the grocery business, extending range of products sold, which was a key feature of growth in the sector, has to come to a halt sometime.

"So with more competition, additional stores from one company are likely to lead to reduced stores from another. Of course, Tesco has been vilified for its effects on local shops, but also praised for its revival of communities, so that in some areas the development of a new Tesco has been criticised, in other areas welcomed. But these are side effects.

"Tesco is not out either to destroy communities or to enhance them; it is a company doing what it sees as profitable."

Notes to Editors:

Issued by Lee Page, Communications Manager, Press and Policy Office, The University of Warwick. Tel: +44 (0)2476 574 255, Mob: +44 (0)7920 531 221. Email:


Lee Page, Communications Manager

+44 (0)2476 574 255

+44 (0)7920 531 221