Traders are feeling the pinch of the Co-op shop

Independent traders on a Chichester estate are feeling the pinch a month after a national chain opened a new shop on their doorstep.

The Co-op opened a new store at the former pub, the Inn on the Green, in Oliver Whitby Road in Parklands on January 25.

It followed a long and unsuccessful battle by traders, and residents on the estate to stop an alcohol licence being granted to the Co-op, which once granted meant they could press ahead with their plans to open.

A month on from their opening the traders at the row of shops a stone’s throw away at The Ridgeway are noticing a difference.

Kathy Lang who works in Costcutter said they have started a shop and drop service for the community on Tuesdays and Thursdays in a bid to keep up.

“In all honesty sales have been hit badly, which to a certain extent we did expect initially as people are curious,” she said.

“We will strive to continue but can only hope that once the curiosity and novelty has passed, and they are replaced by pure economics we are still here to offer the great value for our community that we always have.

“Last year when this all started we did a shop in a Co-op and the same shop at ours and they were over 25 percent more expensive.

“I do only work here, but really believe in this shop as a valuable asset within the community it would be such a shame to lose The Ridgeway as we have been a proper co-operative for so long.

“We have started a shop and drop service on Tuesdays and Thursdays and also sell a small range of Penfolds meat but really now its all down to community backing.”

Malcolm Penfold who owns Penfolds butchers shop said he decided to open on a Wednesday and Saturday afternoon in a bid to attract more trade.

“It’s made me pull my finger out and try and get a few more people up here,” he said. “I obviously needed to open.

“It’s definitely affected the Costcutter and the newsagents though.”

“Mostly we’ve had trouble with the parking. Our customers are having a job to park here now.”

Owner of Parklands Newsagents and Post Office Depen Chadasama, said he noticed a big impact in the first week, but has seen many of his customers return.

“Obviously they are a bit pricier than some of the other local shops there, hopefully everyone will realise that in time,” he said.

“The first week it had quite a big impact, but subsequently we have gained most of the customers back.”

Phil Ponsonby, chief operating officer for The Southern Co-operative said: “We are sure that the new Co-operative store in Parklands will encourage more people to shop locally rather than leave the estate and shop at the nearby superstores for their day to day food shopping.

“We have put in a substantial range of fresh foods and produce plus a bakery which adds to the range of products available in the parade.”