Until April this year the confidence of the five major national multiple grocery retailers continued to be bouyant. Collectively Argyll (Safeway), Asda, Gateway (Dee Corporation) Sainsbury and Tesco were estimated to have 43% of the total floorspace in their trade sector in 1989. This compared to 24% in 1983. Such a significant increase reflected a combination of the acquisition of smaller and mainly regional enterprises, major refurbishment of the better sited traditional stores, and the opening of many new and larger purpose built superstores. Dependent on the whims of local planning authorities, these superstores combined both out‐of‐town and off‐centre sites. It is still often easier to get planning permission for an off‐centre store.
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