New Cross residents met with representatives of Goldsmiths College’s student union on Monday November 19, to join forces and “boycott” the opening of a Sainsbury’s Local.
The Lewisham Way branch of the chain store opened on Tuesday November 20, and has been met with fierce opposition from residents and shopkeepers.
Speaking at the meeting, Chris Boddington, one of the owners of Cafe Crema on New Cross Road, said: “The local business owners will promote a massive boycott of the new Sainsbury’s. They suck money out of the community and they will destroy more jobs than they create.
“There are cases around the country of successful boycotts that have meant certain Sainsbury’s and Tescos are unprofitable, so it can be done.”
Boddington’s suggestion was well received by the group, with the majority of those in attendance claiming they planned to boycott the new store.
The main concern voiced by shop owners is that a popular Sainsbury’s store may force independent shops to close, leaving people jobless and giving the New Cross community fewer options.
James Holland, 40, who lives on Lewisham Way, said: “When the Sainsbury’s opens it’s going to open up for other super markets to do the same.
“I think it is a disaster.”
Ben MacPhee, Goldsmiths Students Union commercial services manager warned that the new chain store could steal a big proportion of their student customers.
According to MacPhee, the Students Union uses the profits derived from their shops in order to fund other causes, including sports, the student nursery and free advice services.
MacPhee said: “It goes to all the things people rely on for their student experience here.”
The new store in Lewisham Way is Sainsbury’s third branch in the area, a ten minute walk from their large superstore in New Cross Gate retail park.
A spokesperson for Sainsbury’s said: “We are pleased to finally be able to open the door to our new Sainsbury’s Local in New Cross Lewisham Way. We hope that our customers will enjoy the new shop and look forward to being a part of the local community.”