Mix-and-match for shoppers

YOUR last two editions have covered the possibility of the major supermarkets setting up local convenience stores, largely from a negative point of view.

Surely there is an opportunity here for everyone to benefit, by pooling the best resources of the national grocers and corner shop owners. Instead of driving them out by competition, the big players could offer franchises to convenience shop owners, including access to central purchasing.

Customers would benefit when the existing convenience stores could offer prices as low as the big supermarkets. The supermarkets could make this move into local shops at little cost, in financial terms or of goodwill. And the existing staff and shop owners, who know their local clientele better than anyone, would have a more secure future. With no change in local management, convenience stores would continue to supply specialist goods not stocked by the national chains (such as Caribbean or Asian ingredients).

If the supermarkets are serious about extending their service as opposed to stamping out weaker rival grocers, then this type of co-operation is the best way forward.

Tom Saul, London SE26