A GROUP of local businesses has declared war on Sainbury’s and pledged to drive shoppers away from the supermarket giant until it shuts up shop.
More than 200 residents and businesses met to discuss the firm’s plan to open a new store at the former home of Peckham’s in Bruntsfield.
Local shop owners are now set to form an independent traders’ association to co-ordinate the fightback amid fears that a Sainsbury’s price war with a nearby Tesco will have a devastating impact on shops in the area.
Karen Mackay, who runs children’s clothes store Nippers in Bruntsfield Place, said: “We hope so few people will shop in Sainbury’s that they will leave.
“We can’t stop them coming to this area, but we don’t have to work alongside them.
“It’s an insult that they think they can be a part of this community and they are coming in somewhere where they are really not wanted.”
Specialist wine and food store Peckham’s delicatessens is moving out after being put up for sale after 16 years. All of its 15 staff will be offered positions within the new Sainsbury’s branch, which will include a bakery.
A meeting is held on Thursday, March 1 at which the details of the traders’ association will be hammered out.
One proposal being considered is the introduction of a Bruntsfield “currency” which can only be used at member stores.
Ms Mackay added that although businesses have accepted Sainbury’s bid to move to the site is a “done deal”, the group will do everything it can to promote the area’s independent shops.
She said: “Enough is enough – Bruntsfield is an area known for its independent shops and we don’t have to say ‘that’s it, they’re coming and there’s nothing we can do about it’.”
Edinburgh South MP Ian Murray, who attended the public meeting, has offered his support in getting the traders’ association off the ground.
He said: “Both the traders and residents have legitimate concerns. Shops in the area have already seen a difference with Tesco opening. The real concern is that if Sainsbury’s and Tesco have a price war, the independent shops will get caught in the middle.”
But a spokesman for Sainbury’s said: “We felt the meeting was very positive. Sainbury’s is very keen to work alongside traders to encourage ‘shop local’ initiatives in Bruntsfield, and that can only be for the good of the area. ”
Sainsbury’s submitted an application to the licensing board to transfer the premises licence on the February 10, which is pending approval.