The SUN sez – ‘Tesco kills off Well Street Market!’

Posted: June 18, 2011 in Up Coming Events

Sorry for increasing traffic to murdock enterprises, but they are doing a big scandalous expose on the demise of well street, perhaps oversimplistically directing it towards TEsco’s as the root cause, when there may be a more complicated and well hidden reason … beware of oversimplicity folks. Well Street Market’s fate is surely part of myriad factors …

WELCOME to the Well Street market, where barrowboy Jack Cohen used to ply his trade to hundreds of customers.

In 1919, Jack was selling his groceries alongside dozens of other stall-holders and did quite well for himself ? going on to found Tesco and earn a knighthood.

But now just three pitches remain at the site in London’s East End, with locals claiming that a Tesco store opening in the street had sounded the death knell for once-thriving family businesses.

As Tesco announced a 13 per cent rise in profits to £2.55BILLION, street trader Martin Wiles blasted Sir Jack’s legacy.

Booming ... local traders blame change on this store

Booming … local traders blame change on this store

Dad Martin, whose family have run a fruit and veg stall in Well Street for nearly 50 years, said: “Tesco killed off the market.

“When I started 35 years ago there were 50 stalls on a Saturday ? last week there were two.

Entrepreneur ... Sir Jack

Entrepreneur … Sir Jack

“Just like High Streets across the country, a supermarket has killed it for independent traders like me.

“It rips the heart out of a community. The difference here is that this market was where it all began for Tesco.”

Martin’s pitch is just a few yards from where Jack ? the son of a Polish Jew ? began his empire with one wooden barrow.

Jack, then 21, used a £30 payoff from the Royal Flying Corps after World War One to buy a job lot of fish paste and golden syrup.

His “pile it high, sell it cheap” sales tactic was a runaway success and he soon moved on to bigger things.

The name Tesco first appeared on packets of tea in 1924, a combination of the initials of supplier T E Stockwell and the first two letters of his surname.

The first Tesco store opened in 1929 in Edgware, North London, and by 1947 the company was quoted on the Stock Exchange.

Off the shelf Tesco facts

  • They employ more than 250,000 in the UK
  • One in every £3 spent on food in UK is in Tesco
  • Every week they have 20 million customers
  • Boss Sir Terry Leahy earned £3.9m last year
  • There are more than 2,672 stores in 13 countries, including the UK, Japan, Poland, Turkey, Hungary, China, Malaysia, Thailand and South Korea

Jack used to give badges to staff with YCDBSOYA on them. He joked that it was Yiddish but it actually stood for “You Can’t Do Business Sitting On Your A***.”

He was knighted in 1969 and died in 1980, aged 82.

Martin, 51, from Romford, Essex, said: “Tesco opened a store at the top of Well Street in 1970 ? I can remember Jack came down to open it himself.

“I suppose he wanted to come back to where it all began.

“There used to be 11 butchers, seven greengrocers and a couple of fish stalls here. Now there’s just me, a clothes stall and a butcher.”

Shopper Sue Williams, 68, said: “I’m not old enough to remember Tesco selling its stuff from a barrow. But I remember when this street was full of stalls and was a proper East End market.

“All the banter’s gone. It’s sad.”

But Tesco insist their popularity shows they are giving shoppers what they want.

Chief executive Sir Terry Leahy has strongly refuted claims that the huge success of supermarkets is killing the High Street.

He said: “When a Tesco store opens, shops around it do better rather than worse.”

He said people will come into a town where a Tesco has opened and will then stay and visit the local shops.

Sir Terry added: “It is up to the customers to decide whether we grow or whether we shrink.”

But from his stall in the shadow of Tesco in Well Street, Martin stares forlornly down the road.

The market stalls are gone ? replaced by fast-food joints.

Market place ... Well Street stalls have had to close

Market place … Well Street stalls have had to close

He says: “I don’t blame Jack.

“But my kids won’t take over from me. When I pack up, Tesco will have it all to themselves.”

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