Bicester Rapidly Becoming Another Tesco Town

Bicester the small market town in the heart of Oxfordshire has a population of just 29,000 people, yet there are no less than six Tesco stores in the town, which is the equivalent of one for every 4,800 people, one of the highest concentrations in Britain .
There are four Tesco Express stores in the suburbs of the town, a large superstore on the southern edge, and a Tesco Metro in the town centre.
If that wasn’t enough there is also a Tesco Metro in Kidlington nine miles away, and another large superstore 16 miles away in Aylesbury .
Local business bosses and traders have had enough and believe the chain halted business in the town centre and robbed Bicester of competition from other supermarkets.
David Simpson, president of the Chamber of Commerce and owner of a sandwich shop said, “It has curtailed the flow of customers into the town centre. Customers choose to go to the local Tesco convenience store or the superstore.”
Competition for Tesco comes in the small form of a Somerfield store, a Marks and Spencer food hall and a handful of independent food shops . There are plans to build a Sainsbury’s superstore in the centre of town to meet Bicester’s rising population.
However, the growth of the town will increase the pressure on rents, and many believe that Government policy has made it difficult for independent, small retailers.
Not long ago there were only two Tescos in Bicester town, a small supermarket in the centre and a larger one next to the Bicester Village retail park .
After the Government made changes to its planning rules it restricted new out-of-town developments, effectively stopping competitors from setting up rival stores. It also meant Tesco could easily expand into smaller high street and corner shops .
“The problem we have is there is no competition for Tesco. Ten miles up the road, prices are cheaper,” added Mr Simpson.

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