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»Traders in Warley are launching a campaign to get shoppers back in the high street in a bid to fight competition from a new controversial Tesco store.

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Business owners in King’s Road and Warley Hill have been working on an action plan to entice customers and improve the quality of shopping in the area. They want people to be proud of their independent shops and to support the high street.

Cllr Will Russell, who owns Vega Hairdressing in King’s Road, has been spearheading the campaign.

He wants feedback from traders about how they want to spend possible cash from the Brentwood Renaissance Fund on the project.

Loyalty cards

The traders are looking at improving customer care, creating loyalty cards, improving shopfronts, employing mystery shoppers and highlighting free parking areas.

Cllr Russell has also signed up a guest speaker to advise traders on how to save money on utility bills.

The meeting tomorrow (Saturday) morning comes at a time when traders in King’s Road and Warley Hill fear the Tesco store will affect their businesses. It is set to open on the former Warley Tavern site in Warlet Road in the summer.

Cllr Russell added: “I realise that not everyone will embrace the arrival of Tesco. But, as one of about 50 hairdressing salons in Brentwood, I am only too aware of how healthy competition can affect a business. I would like to help King’s Road and Warley Hill traders appreciate their own unique selling points and how they can offer the individual customer service that will ensure they will continue to thrive – whoever moves into the trading area.”

Brentwood Council leader Louise McKinlay added: “Cllr Russell is taking a practical approach, and offering genuine advice and support to his fellow traders in King’s Road and Warley Hill. We are very fortunate in Brentwood to have so many independent shops and the Conservative administration is keen to support them – while also appreciating competition can be, and is, a healthy challenge.”

A Tesco spokesman said: “Our Express stores are extremely popular with customers and typically increase footfall into the local area. These stores act as an anchor within high streets and shopping parades, attracting new customers and improving the economic vitality of the area to the benefit of many local traders.”

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