Tesco marches on and on and into West Hampstead

WEST Hampstead has become the latest target on Tesco's hitlist after the supermarket giant bought out an independent furniture shop, sparking panic among other small traders

Tan Parsons

WEST Hampstead has become the latest target on Tesco's hitlist after the supermarket giant bought out an independent furniture shop, sparking panic among other small traders.

The Woods and Woods store on West End Lane will close on February 17 after 29 years as a furniture shop. It previously traded under The Pine Shop banner.

Tesco plans to gut the store and reopen it as a Tesco Express in the summer.


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Woods and Woods owner Damien Pullen says the supermarket giant made him an offer he couldn't refuse.

He said: "We have enjoyed it here. I am delighted with the loyalty our customers have shown us over the years.

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"It was still a profitable shop, but there comes a point where you are made an offer and you have to consider it. It was a business decision.

"The parking restrictions and the increasingly severe way in which they are enforced doesn't make trading as pleasant as it once was."

Last year the Ham&High revealed that Tesco is to open a Metro store in the former Britannia pub on the corner of Belsize Road and Hilgrove Road.

And there are persistent rumours that another Tesco will be included in the new development on Winchester Road.

There are 109 Tescos in London, and 14 within two-and-a-half miles of West End Lane.

Independent traders in West Hampstead fear the store could sound their death knell.

Mukesh Patel, who owns the nearby Peppercorn's Natural Food Market, said: "This is the final nail in the coffin for us.

"Tesco used to sell non-organic food but now they have moved into the organic market and it's going to be very hard."

Jitendra Thakorlal, chairman of the West Hampstead Small Businesses and Residents Asso-ciation, said: "It is very sad to lose someone who's been here for quite some time.

"It will have a detrimental effect on the other convenience stores in West End Lane - no doubt about it. Tesco is a serious operator and very competitive."

Leader of Camden Council and West Hampstead councillor Keith Moffitt said: "People who are less well off will probably welcome a shop on their doorstep where they can buy things at a reasonable price.

"However, most of the shops in the road are quite individual and people will be sorry if this is part of a trend that means West End Lane will become more like ev-ery other high street in the UK."

West End Lane resident Mar-garet Robertson said: "We've li-ved here for 30 years and the idea of a Tesco in West Hampstead is completely unthinkable - it makes me absolutely sick."

A Tesco spokeswoman said: "We don't yet have a set date for the store opening but we anticipate it will be in summer 2008.

"The store will generate about 25 jobs and we look forward to coming to the area."

tan.parsons@hamhigh.co.uk

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