Winners and losers in grocery wars

By John Cousins

A classic case of the big guy hurting the little guy will be played out again in Tauranga when construction of a new supermarket at Bureta hits the turnover of superette owner Balvir Singh.

"But what can I do, it's just reality," he said with a wave of his hand at the news that Progressive Enterprises planned to build a new Countdown supermarket on the site of the Bureta Park Motor Inn.

Mr Singh was the only retailer in the shopping block next to the hotel to be nervous about the 4000sq m supermarket.

He took some comfort that superettes and dairies continued to trade okay in other areas of Tauranga where they were close to supermarkets, although he had no doubts that Countdown would impact on sales of his large stock of grocery items.<inline type="recurring-inline" id="1003" align="outside" enforce-sites="no" />

With the prospect that his grocery sales would drop by about half from the price competition of Countdown, Mr Singh was at least hoping to preserve some of his advantage by the supermarket not having a Lotto outlet.

"I'll wait and see, but I'd rather it was not here."

He believed that there were too many supermarkets in Tauranga and he wondered how they would all survive without redundancies, especially given the job losses caused by the impact of the kiwifruit vine disease Psa.

Mr Singh expected customers would still come in for one or two items, with the supermarket not affecting tradition dairy lines such as pies, lollies and icecreams.

Another Bureta retailer, Annie Byrne of Annie Redfern's Hair Design, said it would be wonderful to have a supermarket next door, particularly for the area's large number of elderly people.

She regularly saw them catch the bus to Brookfield and return loaded up with groceries.

"It will be really good for them. Brookfield is out of range of mobility scooters."

Bay Cuisine manager Angie Lawes said the supermarket would be a huge boost for their business. Even if there was a cafe attached to the supermarket in one of the speciality shops, she said competition was always good. "It keeps you on your toes."

Rachael Finlayson of Boutique Beauty Therapy said it would be good for the area and for business.

Anna Jiang of Master Fish 'N' Chicken also looked forward to the upcoming supermarket, saying that bringing more people into the area meant more people coming into their shop - not to mention the 100 new jobs.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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