THE Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has attacked comments made by the former boss of Tesco about the closure of small shops as “out of touch”.
The organisation said Sir Terry Leahy’s comments about the rise of supermarkets and the closure of small shops being “progress” was disappointing.
The FSB’s Keep Trade Local campaign was set up to raise the profile of high streets and their importance to the local economy.
The organisation said that research shows that more money spent in local shops stays in the local economy compared to that spent in a supermarket. Mike Cherry, national policy chairman at FSB, said: “There is no doubt that the high street is going through change.
“But these comments are unhelpful, out of touch and undermine the reality that businesses face on the ground.
“Shop closures put people off going to the high street to shop, meaning the firms that remain continue to struggle.
“The cost of parking also puts people off – especially when supermarkets and out-of-town centres have free spaces.
“Local shops help to provide jobs in the area, while being able to source good quality products.
“I am disappointed that the high street – the heart of local communities – has been disregarded in this way.”
The FSB said that supermarkets are now part of every day life and many do work well with small firms to source products, but they could do more.
And it also pointed to the way many high streets had re-invented themselves and looked at innovative ways to persuade more people to shop locally.
In some areas, FSB members took their local MPs on Christmas shopping crawls to show them the problems local businesses in their area face and how they are coping with them.