Death of small shops are ‘the price of progress’

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Former Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy has described the rise of supermarkets and the closure of small shops across the country as “part of progress”.

Sir Terry ran the supermarket giant for more than a decade which saw it become one of the world’s biggest retailers, but critics have accused it of driving smaller independent shops out of business and turning town centres into ghost towns.

Appearing on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, he told host Kirsty Young he had mixed feelings on the issue. Asked if seeing boarded-up shops made him sad, Sir Terry said: “It does but it is part of progress. People are not made to shop in supermarkets, they choose to shop there.

“What you have to do is make sure the benefits do outweigh the costs, and I think that they do.

The businessman told Young his devotion to Tesco was so strong, that he bribed his children to inform on their mother if she ever shopped at Waitrose.