Midcounties Co-op owns the store that used to be Harry Tuffins on Foldgate Lane. In May 2015, it objected strongly to the proposal for an out of town supermarket at Rocks Green.
Now, days before the South Planning Committee meets to reconsider the proposal, it has renewed its objection. The Co-op’s main argument is that reducing the size of the superstore will not limit the impact on retailers Ludlow town centre despite the developer’s claims.
The revised plans for the store reduce its retail floorspace by 14%. The Co-op is critical of the assumption by Indigo Planning that a 14% reduction in floorspace leads to a 14% reduction in turnover and consequently a 14% lower impact on trade in the town centre. It says that turnover depends on a range of factors, including the frequency of stacking shelves, the range of goods carried and local demographics. Midcounties Co-op concludes that 14% reduction in floorspace is unlikely to lead to a significant reduction in turnover of the Rocks Green store or of the impact it will have on the town centre.
Letter from Richard Holmes, Property Consultant, on behalf of Midcounties Co-op
Dun Cow Farm, Rocks Green, Ludlow, SYS 2DS Application Number: 14105573/OUT
We are writing on behalf of the Midcounties Co-op and refer to the applicant’s letter of 22nd December 2016 and the revised development proposal. We have made earlier objections in our letter of 3rd Feb and associated report dated February 2015) and our letter of 11th July 2016 in response to the, the Retail Addendum by Indigo dated 12th May 2016. Having considered the additional submissions, those objections still stand and we will restrict our further comments to the reduction in floorspace proposed at the end of December.
Midcounties is an experienced retailer with practical experience of running a portfolio of stores and like all major retailers knows how to maximise the performance of its floorspace through careful management. Examples of such techniques are the frequency of filling shelves, the amount of shelf space devoted popular and less popular lines and, in smaller shops, the selection of lines which are sold. The physical structure places restrictions on the way all shops operate and these are decisions are taken by every retailer every day. It follows that turnover of a store is not simply dependent on its floorspace.
The reduction in size proposed in this application is small – some 324 sq m which amounts to 14% (324sq m / 2275 sq m) compared with the original proposal (and not 17% as claimed by the applicant). It would be naive to believe that the reduction in floorspace on this scale would have a pro-rata reduction in turnover or impact. The turnover per sq m achieved by any individual store is known to vary very significantly from the company average depending on its catchment area population and its demographic characteristics, its accessibility, its parking and the competition in the area. Individual stores trade well above the company average without problems and their turnover is dependent not on its floorspace but their market share within the catchment area. The limited reduction in size now proposed would not significantly affect the attraction and market share of the store.
The proposed store would still be the largest foodstore in the catchment area by some margin as shown below (using the applicant’s figures)
|Store||Net Sales sq m|
|Other Foods shops||800|
Source: Planning and Retail Statement Indigo 12/12/14 Appendix 7 Table 8
It would have easy accessibility by car and ample parking. It would therefore have very significant advantages over the stores operating with the restrictions of a town centre location. The limited reduction in the floorspace is unlikely to lead to a significant reduction in turnover or impact.
We request that you specifically bring this point to the attention of the Planning Committee when it reconsiders the application.
Richard Holmes FRICS