from John Pheysey, Chester

Sir; Tesco chairman David Reid was this summer quoted as saying that it was “a myth” that Tesco Express stores were endangering the livelihood of independent traders.
In every respect, Tesco is a brilliant company, but it and the likes of Asda need their nails cutting. The hypermarket explosion of the last 20 years has decimated local community shopping, turning shopping parades into isolated, vandalised, litter strewn, no-go areas. That’s the price the community has paid for 10p off a can of beans.
But it isn’t Tesco and co who are to blame. It’s the short-sighted, cowardly, easily bought planners, who sadly have let us all down.
I am 68 and am still enjoying working. During the last 20 years I’ve been acquisition manager for Spar, One Stop and Co-op and, in a total of 54 years in the c-store sector, the business has been very good to me. Great times, great friends.
Sadly, it is now a totally different game. We could always compete, could always have a go. Now we can’t compete - they are too good, too strong, too powerful. I’ll give you one example which says it all and there are, and will be, thousands more that bely Reid’s claim.
In 2003, while working for the Co-op, I offered a trader £130,000 for the goodwill of his business, which was achieving weekly sales of £12,000. He thanked me and said: “No thanks, when I’ve paid for my children’s education, I’ll sell. Come back in three or four years.”
In 2004, a Tesco Express opened opposite and his business now has no value.
There are now too many examples of decent, hard-working individuals being overwhelmed by red tape, thieving, litter, vandalism, rising costs, impotent law etc. What they don’t need is a fight they can’t even compete in.
I always believed we had a fair society - we don’t. But it doesn’t have to be so unfair.
If one of the majors wishes to open a major c-store, it should offer to buy the goodwill of any small c-store within its catchment area at a fair market price. This would allow the owner to explore another retail alternative or convert the property for residential use. It would not hurt the majors to spend £1,100,000 instead of £1,000,000 to open a new store. Now that’s fair.