Matson traders 'still struggling to compete with Tesco'
A YEAR after a Tesco Express store opened in Matson traders are still struggling to compete.
The Painswick Road shop opened in June last year and just two months later, shops in Matson Avenue were reporting a decline in sales as a direct knock-on effect.
Now it seems that traders are still struggling and some have had to go to extreme measures just to break even.
Liam Kelch, chairman of the Matson and Robinswood Residents' Group, said: "It is still a concern and it is something we are having to keep an eye on.
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"The Matson Store has reported a drop in trade of 50 per cent since Tesco opened.
"As a result they have re-fitted their shop and now customers have started to go back there.
"They still aren't making new customers, but they are getting some old ones back which is promising."
Some shops along the stretch, such as the chemist and the fish and chip shop have been unaffected due to the fact they are not in direct competition.
Mr Kelch added: "The Matson store has lost all of its customers from the Painswick Road area.
"People in the community need to come and support their local businesses now.
"We have got On Toast opening at the Gateway today and hopefully that will increase footfall here greatly.
"The traders can capitalise on the increased footfall of all the staff working on the new motorway service area too, so things are looking promising for the future."
Gloucester City Councillor Kate Haigh (Lab, Matson and Robinswood) admitted that the "Tesco effect" is still a concern.
She said: "It would be true to say that it has affected the Matson shops.
"I think they have seen a drop in their trade.
"However, it's spurred them on to try and entice more shoppers into their shops as it forms the backbone of the community."
Meanwhile, Gloucester City Councillor Mary Smith (Lab, Matson and Robinswood) said: "I think it's slightly affecting the Matson shops, but I've heard this by word of mouth as nobody has voiced any concerns with me.
"But I don't think it has affected the Matson shops in a major way. People still use the shops as the local shops have different services on offer."