I find it difficult to understand the inherent logic of any of the positions presented in the article ‘New store tipped to keep cash in town’, Midland Express, March 27).
A report, commissioned in 2012 by Mount Alexander Shire Council, estimates what it calls an ‘aggregate escape of spending’ to be at 59 percent in the shire. So, of what locals have to spend, more than half is probably spent in other locations. This is not based on hard data though. It takes an assumption about a population’s average spending power and then relates that to the amount of retail space in town, factored by an income rate per square meter of that floor space per annum. It tells us we don’t have enough places to spend our money locally, so we must spend it elsewhere. That is a big assumption, especially in a town like Castlemaine, but let us accept it for now.
There is a second assumption; spending money in our town is better than spending it elsewhere. I generally agree with this, but then it all depends on the detail. There is a difference between buying bread from a local baker or services from a local electrician and spending our income at the pokies or, and here is the rub, buying all our groceries from an Aldi or a Coles or a Woolworths even if they are situated in our town. And that is what we are talking about, we are not likely to see a third independent supermarket in town.
A third assumption is that spending money in town increases employment. Again context; large supermarkets are automating their checkouts and packing systems employing fewer and fewer people. Large supermarkets also cut prices to reduce competition and reduced competition means reduced employment.
Where is the logic, or indeed why is the logic faulty?
Geoff Crosby, Castlemaine