Tesco ‘important’ in revitalising High Street

Tesco’s latest store near the top of Lincoln’s High Street is sparking a “regeneration”, according to chartered surveyors Hodgson Elkington.

Hayley Playle of Hodgson Elkington said: “We have been successful over the past few weeks in securing a number of new lettings amounting to nearly 10,000 sq ft of space to various companies, which is revitalising the top end of Lincoln High Street.

“In these difficult times this is quite an achievement.

“Tesco Express which now occupies a prominent corner position at 245/246 High Street has been an important factor in giving this area a lift and is helping to breathe new life into the top of the High Street.

“This is a transaction Hodgson Elkington also negotiated on behalf of the other property owners.

“It has been an important factor in increasing the attractiveness of this section of the High Street to shoppers and as a consequence is benefiting other traders in the vicinity.”

However, some independent businesses in the area have suffered from Tesco’s arrival.

Rachel Gentry, who owns the sandwich shop Healthy Appetites on Corporation Street, said: “It has impacted on my sales as they [Tesco] can afford to offer cheap lunch deals.

“But what I would say is that I use all fresh ingredients and prepare my food in store each day, so in the long run I think if people would have preferred with a pre-packaged sandwich a pasteurised filling–pasteurised fillings can have a shelf life of about five days–then I think that they would go to Boots or Marks and Spencer’s, or somewhere like that.

“I don’t think that it is nice to see another Tesco on the High Street, especially in the middle of all the shops and when there are other shops around where people can get cigarettes, papers and milk etc.

“Maybe if they sold all local produce this may change the way we think, but that is on a personal level. I just dont like seeing them take over everywhere.”

Karen Richards, who owns Lindvm, a menswear store in the area that has been boosted by the Tesco store, said: “We are slowly seeing an improvement in trade and the recent opening of Tesco Express and other retailers coming into this part of the city is having a positive impact for all independent retail businesses.”

Another menswear retailer, Whites and Eqvvs, is to expand and revamp its ground floor store. It will introduce a brand new range of merchandise following the letting of 2,800 sq ft at 281 High Street, formerly the Job Centre.

The business already occupies 280 High Street and will now combine its two menswear brands in one larger store.

Perry Walker, Managing Director of Whites and Eqvvs, said: “We plan to bring back the building to its original state when it was opened and occupied by Boots in 1925 as its first store outside of Nottingham.

“We plan to open in October and introduce brand new stock for the autumn season.”

He added: “Although it is still a tough environment for retailers, compared to other parts of the region Lincoln is reasonably buoyant and we feel confident that we will create a good impression and new opportunities for shoppers.”

One new job will be created and some existing part-time staff will have the opportunity to move into full-time positions.

The premises at 24/26 Corporation Street, formerly occupied by HFC bank that closed a number of years ago, is also under offer. According to Hodgson Elkington, a decision is likely to be reached within weeks.

Matt Corrigan, Chief Executive of Lincoln Business Improvement Group, said: “Economic conditions remain difficult but Lincoln continues to attract new retailers and to see the expansion of longer-standing businesses.

“It is good to see new life being breathed into empty shop premises. These are positive signs and they come in the wake of Lincoln launching regular Late Night Shopping, every Thursday.”