Argos have announced they will be opening an Argos store in Sainsbury’s Rustington.
This is all part of a new joint retail initiative where Sainsbury’s offer stand-alone retail concessions in its larger stores.
Argos Director of retail and customer operations Steve Carson said:
Working with Sainbury’s will help us bring the convenience of the Argos offer to customers. This is the first time we have had stores in these locations.”
Sainbury’s revamped and expanded store has been the subject of criticism locally for its sheer size. Arun District Council granted the retail giant planning permission to extend it’s moderate Rustington store into a super size store attracting criticism from local residents who found themselves overshadowed by the new building.
With a new retail park currently under construction just a few metres from Sainbury’s Rustington store and with Marks and Spencer and Next cited as being potential tenants, it’s hard to see how Rustington village and nearby Littlehampton town will remain unaffected.
While major retailers such as Argos, Next and Marks and Spencer should be welcomed to the area, by locating themselves outside of the Littlehampton and Rustington town centres will do little to encourage locals to support these town centres if their retailing offering isn’t attractive.
Meanwhile, Waitrose who are leaving Littlehampton at the end of June, for what they believe to be the more affluent suburbs of Rustington, have already announced their plans to open a large restaurant and garden centre in and outside their new Rustington store.
In my view, not good news for existing cafe businesses in Rustington as Waitrose like to give their coffee away free as a sweetener to encourage a higher footfall.
When Waitrose opened in Littlehampton, a florist and a cafe closed their doors. Now with their departure we’re left with a large vacant retail space, another blow in Littlehampton’s high street’s fortunes.
Clearly Arun District Council’s policy of granting supermarkets planning permission for building shops the sizes of retail parks in exchange for large S106 monies, is now coming home to bite us all.
It’s easy to see why retail parks will always be more popular than high street shopping. Parking is free and easy, stores are located side-by-side and even in the rain, consumers eager to part with their cash don’t have far to walk. And, a real boon is that you don’t get accosted by aggressive ‘charity fund-raiser’s’, town centre drunks and council traffic wardens.
Sainsbury’s Rustington store includes a clever design where you park underneath the store in a giant car park and regardless of weather you remain dry.
It’s easy to see why consumers desert the high street for out-of-town retail parks, but it’s difficult to see how town centres can win them back.
Argos have also announced that they will be opening another store in Sainsbury’s in Bognor Regis.
As always, thanks for you reading, your comments always welcome.