Tesco no show, wishing the year away and making new friends

There's a recurring dream I have. The big new Tesco near my house opens and no one goes. My mate disagrees and says it's the best thing could happen to the area, take out a large blighted site, clean it up, give people jobs. He says it won't really close shops around it, partly because there's not that many left to close and partly because local loyalty will prevail. We'll see. One thing is for sure, Park Road Tesco in Toxteth is going to be a whopper. It takes about five minutes to drive past the site. Nothing against Tesco as such, I shop there more than any supermarket, as there's one in the other direction, but there's something about a business plan with such little apparent risk these days. Who else could spend millions opening a new outlet in a deprived area and know customers will flock? Sir Terry and co will say of course there's risk, which is why they employ people to calculate the precise demographics of the surrounding market and all that. And he's right.

  • "Are you going to MIPIM…by the end of the year…before Christmas…maybe wait until the New Year." The arrival of such terminal language in conversations this month would have us thinking we're closing out December rather than still in quarter three. It's always been a time of renewal since eleven years of school hammers its routine into you. New wardrobe. New friends. There's still another term to get through, the government's spending review on 20 October and some serious business to be salvaged before the festive beer markets arrive and the addled reflection begins. A bit like retailers, many suppliers will be hoping the majority of business comes in the final quarter of another difficult year.
  • Talking of new friends. Liverpool and Knowsley Councils seem to be getting along like a house on firefighting duty, sharing directors , combining budgets and being altogether remarkably sensible and joined up for Merseyside. Expect to see more moves like this, Salford and Manchester sharing key officers, the East Lancashire councils forging stronger links, Cheshire and Warrington likewise. Also, the education, social housing and health sectors lend themselves to sub-regional approaches and consolidations are likely to be seen in the coming year or two among registered social landlords, local education authorities and health trusts. Perhaps this way Local Enterprise Partnerships, the replacement for regional development agencies, will have more meaning than rearranging the chairs if they can become tangible consortia of councils in depth and detail and not just at the upper reaches of leadership and strategy.

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