Traders paying the Asda price

HIGH street retailers believe trade has been lost since the opening of a supermarket in Rushden.

Following the news that Budgens supermarket, in College Street, will close on June 16, retailers say trade has taken a hit since Asda opened in the town last October.

Rose Hooda, manager of Barry Thomas Newsagents, in High Street, said: "We have lost or are losing a number of shops on the High Street and nearly all of the traders say that the competition from Asda has reduced their sales.

"We are worried as we are going through a refurbishment, and we hope we keep enough trade to make the investment worthwhile."

Jade Nurse, manager of Copperfield Fish and Chips shop, said: "Asda has taken a lot of trade out of the town centre. A number of shops are struggling, including lunch-vendors, who are seeing people pop into Asda for a sandwich rather than come into town."

One trader, who has asked not to be named, is planning to close within the next few months.

He said: "Asda has hit a lot of traders since it opened because people do all their shopping then go straight back home.

"Through its buying power, Asda can offer cheaper prices.

"That's good for Asda and maybe the shopper, but it's not good for the community as a whole."

Shopper Daniel Harpen, 27, said: "I do all my food shopping at Asda, which I find very convenient.

"However, despite some good independent stores, there are more and more discount and charity stores. I think too many of them is a sign that other types of shops are struggling. One shop selling everything can ruin a town."

Rushden historian Eric Fowell said: "It's my feeling that Asda should have moved to the south of the town. I don't think town centre retailers have benefited from having Asda so close. Maybe Budgens is the latest victim of that."