A discussion topic at last month’s RN future of symbol retailing summit was what an independent retailer should do if a Tesco opens nearby.  Plan your counter attack as early as possible was the advice from the retail experts round the table.  It’s easier to keep what you’ve already got than win back what you may lose, they said.

In this weeks RN we have a fantastic case study of this advice in action.

The Sonchhatla family have run a store in Witts Hill, Southampton, for 29 years.  But when father and sons team Dennis Amit and Sarju found out that a Tesco Express was opening 50 yards away, they quickly set about safeguarding their sales.

Their first move was to kick up some fuss and oppose the opening.  In doing so they won the support of their community and other local businesses as well as loyalty from new customers.

They worked with wholesaler Booker to put together a cycle of 70 promotions a month which they advertised through a checeky ‘every penny counts’ marketing campaign.  Amit is so optimistic about the popularity of the promotions that he thinks he’ll need to open an extra till on Tesco’s big opening day to cope with the demand.

This strategy seems to be working and Tesco bosses have requested a meeting with their local rival next week.

If you have a multiple convenience store opening nearby and you want to give yourself the best chance of retaining the sales that you have worked hard to build, the Sonchhatlas’ action plan is a great blueprint to copy.

We’ll be sure to let you know how the family are getting on in the future.