An outbreak of store wars could be on the cards as a major retailer is believed to be eyeing up two sites in the centre of a city.

Supermarket giant Tesco is thought to be close to finalising its plans for a store at the site of the former HSBC bank in Dyke Road, Hove, while also being in talks over the site of Furniture Hut in Lewes Road, Brighton.

Tesco already has eight stores in Brighton and Hove, including Jubilee Street, Church Road and Queens Road.

The addition of two further outlets at prominent sites would give the chain dominance over rival Sainsbury, which has nine stores across the city.

Traders in Dyke Road said that rumours have been circulating about a Tesco takeover following the closure of the HSBC branch, which is now vacant after shutting its doors three months ago.

The discount furniture store, which has been in the area for 17 years, started its closing down sale this week and the store owner Gary Ablewhite said that five people will lose their jobs when it closes.

He said that Tesco has discussed opening a store at the site.

Parking restrictions

Mr Ablewhite added: “The main obstacle for us has been parking restrictions on the main road.

"People cannot load up and unload outside the store.”

Meanwhile Tesco is said to have opened accounts with wholesale suppliers for a store in Dyke Road.

A spokesman for Tesco said: “At the moment this is all rumour and speculation. But obviously things change and if they do we will make an announcement.”

A trader in the area who did not wish to be named said he would resist the move by Tesco.

He said: “I will oppose this 100%. It is not a great idea. It would have a negative impact on my business.”

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