Tesco Has Announced Plans To Extend Its Store in Ely

PUBLISHED: 16:54 31 October 2008 | UPDATED: 10:35 04 May 2010

SUPERMARKET giant Tesco has resurrected plans to extend its Ely store in the face of competition from budget retailers. In 2007, credit crunch favourites Aldi and Lidl announced plans to set up camp just minutes drive from Tesco s base in Angel Drove. A

SUPERMARKET giant Tesco has resurrected plans to extend its Ely store in the face of competition from budget retailers.

In 2007, credit crunch favourites Aldi and Lidl announced plans to set up camp just minutes' drive from Tesco's base in Angel Drove. Although the two stores launched into a war of words with one another - and occasionally council planners - Tesco stayed out of the debate, quietly launching its own modest expansion plans in May.

But after Aldi was given the go-ahead to open at Lisle Lane in July - potentially tempting credit crunch shoppers away from Tesco's aisles - Tesco withdrew its application and has returned with a 5,000 square foot expansion plan - around the same size of the one submitted to the council in May.

A spokesperson for Tesco said: "We are looking to extend our store in Ely by approximately 5,000 square feet. This is to improve the shopping experience for our customers and to enable our staff to improve some of the key elements of the shopping trip for customers - in particular range and availability.

Our store in Ely has become increasingly popular and customers travel from far and wide to shop there. As a result, it is busier than we anticipated it would be but we are aware than as it becomes more congested, it is more difficult to keep the shelves full with the products customers want to buy. As a result, we know that many of our customers are shopping outside of the town and we think this is a great opportunity to anchor more of the trade in Ely."

Philip Eden, from City of Ely Perspective, who has been outspoken about the threat Tesco poses to city centre trade in the past, said: "We are where we are. Nobody is deliberately trying to hurt anybody's trade, and from a business point of view you can't argue with Tesco - they do what they do incredibly well. But what we do have to do is make sure that we don't see any more difficulties being put in the way of the viability of the town centre as a result of out of town development."

"People are beginning to understand the correlation," he said. "If you shop out of town it becomes a chore not a pleasure - there is no social side to it."

Tesco is to submit a formal application to the council by the beginning of November, and the outcome will be decided within six months.

However, even if plans get the go-ahead it is unlikely the extension would be in operation before the end of 2009 - and Aldi is due to open before Christmas 2009.

n WHAT DO YOU THINK? Would you like to see a larger Tesco in Ely or are you feeling the pinch and shopping at budget stores outside the town? Write to the Ely Standard at 38 Market Street, Ely CB7 4LS or email editor@ely-standard.co.uk

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