PLANS for a new Tesco superstore in Cavan will not damage Enniskillen’s cross-border shopping trade.
The retail giant announced they had submitted a new planning application to build a bigger store in the Cockhill area of the town and replace the current smaller branch situated in the centre of Cavan.
Enniskillen’s own Tesco branch regularly sees the sight of cars with Cavan numberplates with shoppers from over the border looking to buy their goods at cheaper prices than they would down South where items are far more expensive.
Many also stay around in Enniskillen to spend more money at other shops along with restaurants and bars – all of which helps the local economy to thrive.
But if the new Cavan Tesco gets the green light and sells its goods for the same prices as it does in Enniskillen to undercut its retail rivals, will our own county’s shops see a dent in trade?
Noelle McAloon, pictured right, of Enniskillen BID does not think so.
She said: “From an Enniskillen point of view, I would have the understanding that Asda is a little more of an attraction to shoppers from over the border because there is no Asda in the South.
“Whereas there has always been Tesco, Lidl and Aldi – which I think those in the South are very lucky to have as we don’t have ourselves.
“I think we will still get our Southern shoppers to be honest. We’ve a nice, well-laid out Tesco here in Enniskillen that does provide a good shopping experience.
“We can only hope that we’ll continue to put Enniskillen on the lips of all our potential Southern shoppers and hope that they still see the value in travelling that wee bit longer.
“Obviously, convenience is a big thing for busy parents that they just need to go in and get their groceries at somewhere close at hand.
“It is good to see an organisation like Tesco investing in towns but I wouldn’t worry about Enniskillen – there’s plenty to go around.”
If the new Tesco starts a price war with its rivals in Co. Cavan and sells cheaper goods as a result, will Fermanagh shoppers be tempted to make the drive south to get their groceries?
McAloon added: “I think that whenever you’re in a border area, you always have that risk (of shoppers going elsewhere). Not to mention the situation of our currency as well.
“Retailers can work as hard and as long and can be creative and innovative as they can be. But if the currency is going against you, you lose that battle in the short-term.
“But I think we’re very confident that Enniskillen does offer an enhanced retail experience. In retail, there’s always ups and downs as well as risks – especially if you’re in a border region.
“One upside is this might well be an opportunity for those in the border areas who have access to their own jobs to boost their employment prospects.
The Herald contacted Tesco and asked if the new store would be selling groceries at the same prices as its Enniskillen store and whether or not the latter might see a dent in its profits with shoppers from Cavan choosing not to travel up the road to Fermanagh to do their shopping.
Tesco did not answer our questions but instead issued a short statement from Geoff Byrne, Chief Operating Officer of Tesco Ireland.
He said: “We are delighted to be ready to submit our Cavan Town planning application and subject to permission, this new replacement store will improve the shopping experience for colleagues and customers.”
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