Edinburgh locals say Tesco 'taking from small businesses' with new Leith plans

'They’re taking the business from small businesses'
-Credit: (Image: Edinburgh Live)


The potential arrival of another Tesco in Leith is back on despite local outrage.

The supermarket giant has submitted new plans for a Leith location in an abandoned Yamaha showroom on 58-66 Queen Charlotte Street. The space has been vacant since 2012.

There are currently four Tesco stores open within half a kilometre of each other; three are smaller Tesco Express stores, and one a Tesco Superstore, occupying a much larger space on Duke Street.

READ MORE - Edinburgh man attacked Starbucks staff in drunken tirade when asked to leave

READ MORE - Edinburgh hotel boss shuts down English tourist who was 'shrugged off' by staff

Leith residents are concerned about what a fourth Tesco might do for their beloved neighbourhood and its local businesses.

Russell, 23, a former Leith resident says that local business is what makes Leith special. He said: “Local business are the heart of Leith– we don’t need a Tesco Express every ten metres.”

Sign up for Edinburgh Live newsletters for more headlines straight to your inbox

Elaine, who works at George Bowman Butcher, an independent shop just off of Leith Walk, worries about what another chain supermarket means for the local businesses already struggling to stay afloat in the changing Leith landscape.

She said: “It’s too much saturation, they just want to take everything. They’re taking the business from small businesses as it is, the supermarkets.”

Other locals simply think the neighbourhood has enough grocery options. Ana, 61, does not plan on visiting the new Tesco when it opens.

The new store would sit around 10 minutes from the Duke Street Tesco
The new store would sit around 10 minutes from the Duke Street Tesco -Credit:Edinburgh Live

She said: “It’s too close, too near, one another. I’ll continue to come here [the Duke Street location] regardless.”

Another local was shocked that Tesco would open a fifth location so close to so many other supermarkets. They added: “They’re just too close to each other, aren’t they? Why do we need another Tesco’s?”

Tesco originally submitted the proposal for the Queen Charlotte Street location to the council in January of this year, before withdrawing them in April. The planned shop promises to add 15-20 jobs and bring further convenience to shoppers in the Leith area.

Isabelle, 81, said the new Tesco could be helpful for residents without cars or bus routes near their house.

Join Edinburgh Live's Whatsapp Community here and get the latest news sent straight to your messages.

She added: “When you’re walking and you’ve no car, it’s quite nice to have a supermarket near you.”

Edinburgh Live understands that this new Tesco Express aims to provide walkable top-up shopping access to the Leith community that are farther from the trio of existing Tesco stores, while also making use of a building that has been sitting vacant for over a decade.

A spokesperson for Tesco said "The convenience and great value of our Tesco Express stores has made them very popular with our customers in Edinburgh and we want to continue to invest in serving our shoppers with new stores in the city."