Fears that large supermarkets are pushing out local stores have been voiced again following recent research.

The New Economics Foundation (NEF) has carried out research into ‘Ghost Town Britain’ and has found that every time a large supermarket opens the local economy suffers a net average loss of 276 jobs.

The report says that between 1995 and 2000 Britain lost about 20% of its local shops and services and forecast that by 2010 many local economies with fewer than 3,000 people will have none at all.

Campaigners are urging for competition legislation to stem supermarket power. They believe that while competition rules have previously focused on preventing monopolies at national level this has been overlooked on a local level.

In response, Tesco says supermarkets are already heavily regulated, as reported in the Observer today.

Tesco now has 277 Express stores and 161 of its slightly larger Metro format. In addition Friends of the Earth has criticised Asda for planning to introduce mezzanine levels into its stores before the law can be changed to prevent this.