Every week, RN features stories of independent retailers taking both innovative and sometimes desperate action to take on the supermarkets and protect sales.

There have been four great examples recently. Sussex shopkeeper Peter Lamb is trouncing Tesco’s virtual supermarket trial at Gatwick Airport with his own online dinner delivery service for busy commuters, as reported last week.

There have also been stories of independents beating the mighty mults’ plans to open new stores nearby. The Buttress family fought off two Tesco applications to open a superstore half a mile from their Basingstoke shop after winning the support of councillors and 1,500 locals (last week). Braintree newsagent Andy Thurston will hope One Stop’s application goes the same way after winning round one (this week).

But a new one to me is this week’s story of the only independent supermarket in Gerrards Cross, which has set up shop in a branch of Sainsbury’s to prevent the 100 year old business from going under.

Owner Paul Fisher struck a deal where a Fisher’s butcher and deli will occupy a third of the site, while a non-competing Sainsbury’s Local will make up the rest.

Most independents would scoff at the thought of working with the enemy. But this example offers some clear mutual benefits. The store has been saved, while Sainsbury’s will benefit from the Fisher’s local reputation and loyal customers.

While this is not necessarily the shape of things to come, it shows that sometimes you’ve got to be flexible in order to survive. And some great entrepreneurial spirit from Paul Fisher shows that you don’t just have to work with other small businesses when brokering exciting business deals.



Retail Newsagent is a weekly business magazine for the best of the independent channel, providing retailers with coverage of news and convenience retailing that will help them turn a profit.


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