Sweet shop shuts its doors and blames rise of cheap supermarkets

Supermarket giants are blamed for the closure of popular Hilbornes sweet shop in Albert Road
Supermarket giants are blamed for the closure of popular Hilbornes sweet shop in Albert Road
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LARGE supermarkets have been blamed for the demise of a popular Southsea sweet shop.

Hilborne’s, in Albert Road, shut its doors for good last week after trading for more than four years.

Owner Kevin Warne said that since Tesco had opened its large store at Fratton Park in November 2015, his sales had plummeted due to a drop in footfall.

He also said the rise of stores like Sainsbury’s Local and Tesco Express, which have both opened stores nearby within the past two years, have also hurt his figures due to their competitive pricing and promotional offers.

Mr Warne said: ‘Large supermarkets that take millions of pounds a week are opening new stores and we can’t keep up.’

Mr Warne, who also ran a sweet shop for four months in Fawcett Road in 2014, said the Albert Road store was his ‘flagship’.

He added: ‘I’ve never wanted to let the Albert Road store go. It should’ve been our flagship shop but the fact the sales have dropped so dramatically means we had no choice.’

Mr Warne said he would now be concentrating his efforts on his other store – Sweets 4 U at Cascades Shopping Centre in Portsmouth – and that he hoped to open a further store in Fareham soon.

‘We felt we had built up a good family business,’ he said.

‘The company is still trading but we have had to go where the footfall is.

‘However that means larger bills and that I have to sell five times more sweets, at the moment we are managing

‘We have not gone completely, we even do a home delivery services, so I hope people still support us.’

Sweet shop Gilbert’s, in Eastney Road, Milton, has been trading for 110 years.

It was started by Alfred Hostler who sold herbal sweets at the dockyard gate.

Owner Brian Gilbert agreed that rise of supermarket chains had impacted on sales.

‘If you had a ladder tall enough you could see three Tesco’s from my shop, which is ridiculous,’ he said.

‘Every supermarket that opens kills something.’