STORE wars may soon break out in Accrington.
Bosses at the Arndale Centre revealed this week that supermarket giant Sainsbury’s is considering submitting an application for an 80,000 sq ft store at the rear of the shopping complex.
A spokeswoman for Sainsbury’s confirmed it is looking at the site but stressed it is one of several options it is considering for a possible outlet in Hyndburn.
Tesco has already applied for planning permission for a superstore on the former Skillcentre site on Eagle Street while there is an existing Asda on Hyndburn Road.
So it could lead to cut-throat competition between the “big three” and a wider choice for customers.
Members of Hyndburn Chamber of Trade support a supermarket in the town centre as opposed to one on the outskirts.
The group’s president, Ian Smith, said: “A superstore in the Arndale would increase footfall in the town centre and possibly the market as well, and benefit us all.
“It can be difficult for traders to compete with out-of-town retailers like the proposed Tesco which is essentially on the outskirts of the town centre.
“People will not come back into the town from Eagle Street with large bags of shopping. But a store in the Arndale Centre might prevent this.”
Last year traders at Accrington’s historic Market Hall saw a downturn in the number of visitors as high streets across the county saw a slump in sales of between eight and 12 per cent.
Hyndburn Council has promised a £1M investment in the market building, repairing the roof and renovating facilities, to demonstrate its belief that trade will improve.
But some traders are bracing themselves for a continued slowdown.
Mr Smith, who runs a butcher’s shop in the market, said: “It’s hard to predict what might happen but we know things are slowing down globally and we have to be prepared for that.”
He added: “We are not against a superstore, just one on the Eagle Street site.”