TRADERS are predicting the death of their tiny businesses with Tesco set to become the fourth supermarket to open in Askew Road.
The supermarket giant confirmed to the Chronicle this week that it is working on early plans to open an Express store at the derelict Rat and Carrot pub.
But, while Tesco are definitely coming to the half-mile stretch, Waitrose have denied their interest in moving into the area.
But that is little comfort to the dozens of small, family-run shops in Askew Road who are still recovering from Sainsbury's opening their store in the Shepherd's Bush street last September.
They are also competing against neighbouring Co-Operative and Nisa Local stores.
Maureen Lee, chairman of Askew Road Business Watch said: "We are trying to arrange a meeting with Tesco. Businesses are suffering and have been in terminal decline and this could be the final nail in the coffin.
"This is going to cripple local traders in Askew Road and wipe them off the map completely. If people don't go into these supermarkets then they will have to go away. We have to fight to keep our local traders alive."
Kamer Saeed has run Atlas Food and Wine for seven years with the store being managed by his family since 1965.
He said: "I think it is a done deal as these things always are. Business in Askew Road is suffering at the moment anyway and I have only just managed to survive the Sainsbury's opening up.
"But this is just taking it too far. We have been here since the 1960s and we are not going to give up without a fight.
"We can't keep competing with these supermarkets and local traders are very concerned."
Kumuthini Santhiramohan, 31, and husband Sivalingam, 38, have been running Askew Road & Wine, for two years and fear a hike in their £25,000 a year rent.
Mrs Santhiramohan said: "There are too many shops in Askew Road and I can't believe this could be happening. Our rent is going to go through the roof.
"Luckily, Sainsbury's was at the other end of the road but this Tesco will be opposite us so we will be badly affected. There is talk of people setting up a petition but I fear there is not much we can do against these big companies."
Ali Razwan, manager of H&T Hardware, said: "The positive is that we will see more people attracted to the area for shopping. But for local food shops it is bad news because they can't compete with the prices or special offers of supermarkets."
Rumours have been growing in the area about the possibility of Tesco taking over the Rat and Carrot site and rivals Waitrose putting in a bid to re-develop The Sun pub in Askew Road.
Tesco's development manager Carol Leslie would not be drawn on timetables or detailed plans for their Askew Road site other than to say: "We have sent out letters to neighbours outlining our plans which are in a very early stage."
James Armstrong, Waitrose property and development communications manager, simply said: "This is not a site we are currently looking at."
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