10 January 2011

Are we impressed?

How many times do I have to say that new retail developments do not create jobs - they merely move them around, usually at the expense of smaller shops. Accordingly, I suggest that you take this announcement (on the BBC website) with a pinch of salt:

David Cameron is due to meet the bosses of some of the UK's biggest firms on Monday to discuss their plans to create thousands of new jobs.


Supermarket chain Morrisons says it will create 6,000 new jobs in 2011, with Tesco promising 9,000 and Sainsbury's 6,500. Asda has pledged to create 15,000 retail apprenticeships.

John Lewis and Microsoft have promised 4,000 new jobs each and gas company Centrica, 2,600.

The point is that new shops do not stimulate more shopping. Buying your baked beans from a new Tesco simply means that you won't buy them elsewhere. But the overall volume of baked beans sales in the UK economy is unlikely to change significantly.

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