Belfast Telegraph

Monday 1 September 2014

Asda is not to blame for store closure

I write in response to an opinion piece by Glyn Roberts of the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association headlined 'Are out-of town retail complexes the future?' (July 30).

Mr Roberts asserts there is a simple linkage between Asda's arrival in Larne and the loss of 40 jobs with "an independent grocer" having to close his business in the town.

In my view, he is wrong in this assertion and he has failed to present all of the facts to readers.

The period when fortunes started to turn for the business in question, Linn Stores, predates Asda's presence in the area. The company's last set of abbreviated accounts, for the year ending in April 2009 showed a loss of £265,381 - a year before Asda opened in Larne.

The simple fact is that in November 2008, 45% of grocery retail spend from within the Larne catchment was spent outside of Larne. Put simply, people were leaving Larne to shop elsewhere.

PHILIP BARTRAM

Asda Stores

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