Grocery retailers close to the Rover car manufacturing site in Longbridge are waiting with bated breath to hear whether a rescue attempt can succeed in saving the commercial driving force of their community.
Cran Croxon, assistant manager at a nearby Safeway store, said that although the supermarket had not yet felt any impact, as Rover employees were still on full pay, he expected to see a knock-on effect in the next few weeks.
“It is a concern as it will take money out of our customers’ pockets. But it may also have a positive impact on our sales as people choose Morrisons own-label over branded products,” added Croxon. “We’re better placed than most as we’re not reliant on luxury goods or non-
food; we sell basic products that people will still need.”
Two Spar independents are also trading close to the plant - one just 300 yards away. Elwyn Davies, retail director of Spar wholesaler AF Blakemore, said he had been in consultation with worried shop owners. “It’s till too early to say, but if the closure goes ahead it will have a major effect on all commercial businesses in the West Midlands.”
If Rover’s administrators close the company, it would lead to 6,000 redundancies and the loss of up to 20,000 indirect supplier jobs.
Rachel Barnes