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Welcome to Supermarketville: 3,000 employed in Gloucester's 35 stores

By The Citizen  |  Posted: February 13, 2014

Comments (10)

TEN times more people are employed in supermarkets than by the police in Gloucester.

More than 3,000 people are employed by seven supermarket firms, compared with 4,304 hospital workers and 435 at the city council and 263 by the police.

Retail is the fastest growing employment sector in the city and the foundation of Gloucester’s economic recovery.

In the past six months Kingsway has seen a new Asda and the Railway Triangle has become home to a 46,500sqft Morrisons – with a drive-thru Costa to follow shortly. Tesco has recently unveiled new stores in Churchdown and Tuffley.

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Work on Gloucester’s 36th supermarket is under way on a derelict site in Barnwood – another Morrisons.

The northern supermarket chain employs 560 people at its two stores in the city with Asda offering up 483 jobs.

Sainsbury’s employs 750 people in Gloucester but Tesco is the largest supermarket employer with 1,000 staff.

But is that level of growth strangling the life out of smaller businesses struggling to maintain a foothold on the survival ladder?

On the one hand, the retail giants are providing vital jobs to help keep communities alive.

But Janice Tutty has already been forced out of one community by a supermarket and has seen trade drop at her current Churchdown store Mini Fruit and Flower Market.

She said: “I was in Brookfield Road for 30 years but had to move after the Tesco in Brockworth opened and I lost a lot of business. Since Tesco opened in Churchdown I have had to reduce my staff.

“We used to have three on in the day but now have just one person at times as it is so quiet.”

Supermarkets argue they give back through community projects and regenerating derelict sites.

A spokesman for Sainsbury’s said: “Retail is one of the largest and fastest growing employment sectors in the UK and Sainsbury’s is playing its part in this by creating thousands of jobs across the country, with more than 750 people employed in Gloucester alone. Our apprenticeship scheme provides vocational training, including nationally recognised qualifications.”

Meanwhile, around 70 people in Gloucester are currently employed in coffee shops, including 55 at Costa, and McDonald’s employs 350 people in its four city restaurants. A recent report showed Gloucester has 126 fast food outlets and that 28 per cent of its population is obese.

Mark Owen, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses for Gloucestershire and the South West, said: “These retail figures are quite frightening and highlight the fact that manufacturing needs more support to help the economy grow.

“Whereas 7,200 retail workers in Gloucester highlights how important the sector is to the city and how many jobs and livelihood totally rely on it, we should all be doing our bit by supporting our local shops in their hour of need.

“The rise of internet shopping, supermarkets, coffee shops and McDonald’s has all had an effect on the smaller retail economy.

“We have recently had a flood of new businesses in Gloucester and we are at saturation point in the supermarket sector.

“It has now got to the stage where the larger companies are all competing against each other and not smaller businesses.

“We could have another five new Tescos in Gloucester and it wouldn’t make any difference to smaller businesses which have already been hit by the arrival of several new stores in recent months.

“It is too late to restrict any more supermarkets from opening up in Gloucester. It would be like putting out sandbags once homes have already flooded.

“Small businesses have been hit hard and the damage has already been done.”

Shopper Ruth Warne, who lives near to the recently opened Churchdown Tesco: “I used to shop at the Sainsbury’s in Barnwood but the new Tesco is a lot more convenient.

"The old garden centre site had been empty for some time and is now being used so that has been positive.”

Gordon Goodman, who campaigned against the supermarket, said: “The number of people Tesco is employing is great and it offers parking, convenience and regeneration. What I’m against is the monopoly in villages. It’s having a big impact on smaller shops older people rely on.”

In Gloucester, there are 14 Tescos, four Sainsbury’s, two Asdas, two Morrisons, an Aldi, two Lidls and 10 Co-ops.

-7,200 people work in Gloucester’s retail sector, 11.4 per cent of its employees.

-Gloucester has 11,800 health workers.

-Manufacturing caters for 7.2 per cent of employees with 4,500 jobs.

-63,100 people are in work in the city, 22.8 per cent of Gloucestershire’s employees.

An all-party Parliamentary group predicted in 2006 that in the UK of 2015 many small convenience or grocery stores would be gone, few independent newsagents and petrol forecourts would survive, with pharmacies and post offices facing a “moderate chance of survival”.

Residents in Abbeymead have hit back against Morrisons plans to demolish community pub The Ridge & Furrow and replace it with a petrol station.

A survey commissioned by Gloucester MP Richard Graham to get feedback on the plan was sent to 6,475 households – 35 per cent responded with 1,575 calling for the pub to be saved. Just 592 people were happy to see a new petrol station.

Mr Graham said: “Morrisons and Gloucester can do better.”

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  • North Glos EPC  |  February 13 2014, 2:24PM

    I completely agree with other comments that nothing like as many new jobs are created by all these supermarkets. Even the jobs created are low pay, low hours or even zero hours, nothing to really write home about. Then we come to the lunacy of building new supermarkets only a few hundred yards from existing stores, while planners look for land to build housing on? So desperate is this search they're proposing building on Green Belt, if that was not bad enough, but on land that has before and will again flood (and even is today). And our tax money pays for these idiots. Depressing isn't it?

    |   13
  • Paul2534  |  February 13 2014, 1:07PM

    The problem is when they open I new supermarket they say we will need 100 staff. What they don't say is 60% off them will come from other sites in the city as they don't need them there as customers will shop at the store closest to them. The other 40% is part time less than 12 hours a week and zero hour contacts. I love for the citizen to find out how many of them staff work over 16 hours a week publish that.

    |   8
  • huccydave  |  February 13 2014, 10:50AM

    Minimum wage jobs on 12hr contracts or Zero hours when is this Country going to wake up. We need to invest in creating value added jobs in manufacturing and improving the infrastructure so companies can succeed. Not build even more supermarkets who intrinsically suck the life out of small business.

    |   12
  • SandraPee  |  February 13 2014, 10:29AM

    I don't think I've missed it , but, no mention of the ratio of full time jobs against part time jobs or zero hour contracts , which is extremely important ,

    |   15
  • uk_socrates  |  February 13 2014, 10:09AM

    @Beekeeper. I am not sure supermarkets do damage the local economy? Its a largely free-market, people don't have to shop at super-markets.... But people are probably drawn to the free spacious parking, clean food displays, cheap prices, and a quick till operation that accepts all major debit and credit cards. Also you talk about poor working conditions what about the people who work in corner shops that don't even earn minimum wage?

  • randylearner  |  February 13 2014, 9:28AM

    No mention of the job cuts Morrisons has had to implement at Metz Way. A supermarket there was always an idiotic move, should have been a leisure quater or sports hub

    |   12
  • Beekeeper  |  February 13 2014, 9:21AM

    All supermarkets damage the local economy. Poor working conditions, and all profits leave the area.

    |   8
  • JemmyWood  |  February 13 2014, 9:20AM

    So was any public money used in Dick Graham's survey or did he put his hand in his own pocket?.... Errrrrrmmmmmmm as he is currently an MP (roll on next years general election) I would wager it was paid for by public money. If it was... How much of our money did he waste on the popularist band wagon exercise?

    |   10
  • NibNobs  |  February 13 2014, 8:34AM

    The large supermarkets like Sainsbury's at Barnwood, Asda Gloucester, Tesco Cattle Market and Tesco Brockworth are LESS busy than they were as their own companies build more and more convienience stores everywhere nearer to where people live. Also the huge growth in dot.com grocery shopping with multiple delivery vans at each store, together with 'click & collect' in most large stores means LESS people need to go to the large stores. That could be why Morrisons at Metz Way isn't that busy....there are just too many alternatives to using the car to go food shopping, not to mention the dreadful weather putting people going out, and the biggest growing supermarket chains namely ALDI and Lidl taking business off Asda & Tesco!

    |   9
  • NibNobs  |  February 13 2014, 8:25AM

    the new Morrisons is like a ghost town during week days. I cannot understand why they are building another store in Barnwood just a mile away because it will take customers away from their new store at Metz Way.

    |   14