Gannaways Is the First Victim of Sainsbury’s


The popular greengrocers, established along Portswood Road in 1975, is being forced to close with the building of the new Sainsbury’s and too much competition along Portswood High Street.

The owner, John Gannaway, spoke to the Scene of its closure.

‘Our lease is up for renewal, but what with the new Sainsbury’s and a proposed second supermarket where the car-park is along Westridge, we thought that it was not worth the competition. We are really sad by this, and thank all our loyal customers for their support. We are aiming to focus on our shop in Bitterne, but this closure is a real blow to us’.

Other shops too are beginning to feel the pressure as the Sainsbury’s building starts to take shape. Longs, a second greengrocer’s, is preparing for the worst.

Andy Jackson of Longs Greengrocer’s said ‘It can’t be a good thing for us. It will certainly have a big knock on effect. Until it actually happens, you can’t make any guarantees as to whether it will be the end or not’.

We are really sad by this, and thank all our loyal customers for their support.

John Gannaway

The new Sainsbury’s will reportedly provide over 400 jobs for locals and help boost the economy, although concerns are being raised over the capability of Portswood’s infrastructure to cope, especially after the road havoc the temporary traffic lights brought to the surrounding roads whilst construction was under way.

A spokesman for Sainsbury’s said ‘Sainsbury’s investment in Portswood will not only enhance the overall retail offer of the district centre, it will also help keep people shopping locally. Our new store will retain and attract shoppers who currently travel elsewhere for greater main food shopping choice’.

Not everyone is so negative about the opening of the 50,000 square feet of superstore, and some welcome the arrival of the big chain.

Dhanesh Patel, a local of Southampton said: ‘If these local traders can’t cope with a bit of competition then maybe their worth doesn’t really extend beyond the novelty of being a “local” trader in the first place. The amount of jobs somewhere like Sainsbury’s creates in comparison is beneficial in the long term’.

With the opening date set for Spring this year, maybe only time will tell what further impacts the supermarket will have on Portswood.


Discussion11 Comments

  1. avatar

    It’s difficult, because obviously it’s good to have local tradespeople in business still, but in the world we live in we must move with the trends in terms of superstores. It would be nice if maybe the store offered people who would be out of the job a role at their store, but unfortunately this doesn’t seem to have happened. Best of luck, Mr Gannaway.

  2. avatar

    It’s all well and good Sainsbury’s saying it will keep people buying local, but the fact is that the majority of the money spent there is sucked off out of the local economy. Plus, with the 10 or so other supermarkets within walking distance, I really don’t think Portswood residents are having any problems with finding what they want ‘locally’…

  3. avatar

    It’s a pity the grocers didn’t even try. With Sainsbury’s arrivial, they should tried to change their appeal, exploit their locality, small business novelty and given it a go.

  4. avatar

    It may seem natural that trade continues to shift to supermarkets, but it does nothing to build a more resilient economy. It may bring a greater net number of jobs, but it’s been shown that money spent in local shops circulates for longer amongst local businesses than money spent in chain shops (which disappear into shareholders hands relatively quickly), and so the same money effectively has brought more income to local people as it sustains a greater number of transactions. What we need in the face of global economic turmoil and instability is a more resilient economy, not one that just looks good on the surface with good stats.

    As for Dhanesh’s comment: ‘If these local traders can’t cope with a bit of competition then maybe their worth doesn’t really extend beyond the novelty of being a “local” trader in the first place.’, a ‘bit’ of competition can hardly describe it – supermarkets have been using tactics such as strategic underselling, land speculation and street mobbing against smaller traders for years, and alluding to this process as if it’s a healthy form of competition is absurd. Ideal market competition implies similarly matched businesses competing on quality, not who has the strongest arm in forcing other businesses out. Overcentralisation in the economy by a dwindling number of large companies is as damaging as overcentralisation of political authority in the state, and should not be defended wrapped in pseudo-libertarian rhetoric. On the jobs comment, see above.

    As for those comments regarding how Gannaways simply should have upped their game, anyone shopping there would be aware how much they have diversified in recent years to get business – from jarred sauces, baked stuff, flowers, veg box deliveries and more. For one thing their produce is generally significantly cheaper than supermarkets and very often better quality, which I think illustrates how competition from supermarkets is not giving the consumer better, but lower quality in shinier packaging.

    • avatar

      I dont agree that the quality is usually better from local greengrocers, it often isnt, I used to buy from the local greengrocers, but the produce goes off quicker, in general it seems to have a much lower shelf life, I think due to buying cheaper and lower grade produce, and it getting to local greengrocers close to the end of its shelf life by the time it gets through to local wholesalers and is bought by the local traders.

      Veg boxes are OK, but you often end up paying more for more vegetables than you need, and cant choose what goes in the box, and just end up with what’s seasonal and cheap, like it or lump it.

      There was no need for Sainsbury’s to come to Portswood, it will be more expensive than Waitrose (so many people have this daft idea that Waitrose is expensive – it’s really not if you shop carefully), and the quality of fruit, vegetables and meat at Waitrose is unsurpassed.

      People should also remember that Waitrose is a partnership in which the staff are partners, dedicated to offering quality, value and customer service. It is not a soulless corporate entity. Waitrose try to source local produce from small growers and suppliers close to individual Waitrose stores, and have expert buyers who seek out the best sources of the best quality food and unusual ingredients that can’t be found in other supermarkets. The quality of meat in Waitrose is amazing, and I wouldnt buy meat from any other supermarket.

      They have their own sources of production, eg the Leckford estate, where they embody the Waitrose principles of good food, good environmental practice and fair behaviour in all their transactions. At all stages they ensure responsible and sustainable agriculture and animal husbandry.

      Waitrose is fantastic. We are so lucky to have it in Portswood, and we should cherish and use it.

      I will not use Sainsburys, and I hope other local ethical shoppers continue to use Waitrose.

  5. avatar

    I am slightly suspicious about the number of jobs that Sainsburys has claimed it will provide. For a 50,000 sq. ft. store it sounds like many of these jobs will be part time and that jobs in construction are included. So some of the 400 jobs may be merely temporary. Certainly not claiming that there is anything wrong with temporary or part time work. Just that in the long run how much benefit will locals really be getting? We are trading uniforms surely. Not just in Ganaways but with their suppliers and any other related activity such as reduced foot fall in shops in the vicinity.

    We are swapping heterogeny for homogeny and then being told by Mr Patel that this alledgely is a competitive and free market. At least Mr Ganaway has another store and is not losing his livelihood (or all of it).

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