INDEPENDENT traders in Kirkby say their businesses have been hit hard following the opening of the new Morrisons store in the town - and are now calling on shoppers to ‘use them or lose them’.
The supermarket, which opened its doors last month, has created 265 new jobs and been seen by many as one of the first steps in the regeneration of the town.
But smaller retailers say Morrisons is having a devastating impact on their trade because folk are now doing their shopping at the supermarket.
Pete Albone, who owns Kirkby Fruit and Veg at the precinct opposite Morrisons, said: “We are about 20 per cent down. I’m hoping it’s because Morrisons is new - I’m hoping it’s the novelty.
“I’m going to give it another two or three weeks and hope it’s going to pick up again.
“We had it good when there was no supermarket and no parking here.”
His views were echoed by Debra Griffin and Andy Marriott, who own Debra Ann Delicatessen on Lowmoor Road.
Debra said: “It’s like someone has been round and seen what everyone else is doing and then undercut them.
“We have put a lot of time into this and I look at Morrisons and think, ‘is it worth it?’”
Andy said: “We have had to approach our suppliers to get price reductions - we are making less than we were two years ago.
“We have spent five years building the business up and it’s been destroyed in one day - the day Morrisons opened.
“It’s brought people into the town but they jump straight back in the car and go out.
“People need to know there is a town here and that they need to use it. Why can’t the council put a sign up?”
Other shopkeepers said that while they welcomed the regeneration in the town, they were also concerned about the impact the supermarket is having on trade.
Amir Hirani, who owns Ashfield Dry Cleaners on the corner of Ellis Street, said that he was in favour Morrisons, but added that it was ‘unfair’ that the supermarket was also offering a dry cleaning service.
He said: “I think it’s a little bit unfair of Morrisons for me to move out of the precinct and for them to put a dry cleaners there.
“At the Morrisons at King’s Mill (in Mansfield) and Bulwell in Nottingham, they don’t do cleaning.
“I feel it is unfair because I was established in the precinct for over 20 years.”
But he added that he would like to see other big name stores move into the town, like Wilkinsons and national bakers Greggs.
Kevin Else, from K. and R. Else Family Butchers, said: “Morrisons has smartened the area up and I think in general it is beneficial to Kirkby - but then again they sell what I sell.
“It’s brand new so everyone is going to go and have a look and if it eventually brings more people to the town then it’s a good thing.
“What Kirkby needs is different businesses and a variety of shops.
“Whatever shops come to Kirkby will affect somebody and we offer different services (to Morrisons).”
This week, a spokesman for Morrisons said: “As part of the town’s retailing community, we want to ‘bring the bustle back’ to the high street by making the town more of a destination for shoppers.
“In our car park, shoppers can park for free for two hours meaning they can shop at Morrisons and visit other stores on the high street.
“Inevitably, some of our products and services will compete with other businesses, but this can only be good for the customer.”