A SHOP that has been the hub of a community for 21 years is being forced to close after being ‘banned’ from competing against its new neighbour Sainsbury’s.
Shenley News owners Nayab and Bushra Haider say they started losing money the minute Sainsbury opened up last month at Shenley Church End local centre.
At the same time, to rub salt in the wound, the centre’s agents told them their rent would rocket by almost 40 per cent next year.
The Haiders also claim they have been denied the chance to compete with the supermarket giant by selling groceries – because they’ve been told there is a ‘no competition’ in Sainsbury’s lease.
The Haiders have complained to no avail to centre owners Parks Trust, the site agents, councillors and their MP.
“We are not against Sainsbury’s coming. All we want is a chance to compete fairly against them and save our business,” said Mr Haider.
“Our main business is newspapers, cigarettes, lottery tickets and sweets. The problem is that Sainsbury’s sell all of these too so people go there.
“When we asked if we could sell groceries too to draw people in, the agents said we were not allowed because of the clause banning anyone from selling things that would compete with them. It just seems very unfair.”
The Haiders’ previous neighbours were Netto, who did not sell papers, cigarettes or lottery tickets.
“Netto was fine. They did not affect us and we did not affect them,” said Bushra.
“But we have no chance against Sainsbury’s. We fear we will have to close down as soon as our lease expires next March.”
The rent for Shenley News is currently £28,500 a year. This month the agents announced it would rise to £40,000 after March.
Letting agents Rapleys had failed to comment by the time the Citizen went to press.