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HOW BRIGHTON’S ETHICAL SUPERMARKET IS WINNING ITS BATTLE TO CHALLENGE THE RETAIL GIANTS

When Brighton-based sisters Amy and Ruth Anslow founded independent supermarket hiSbe in 2013, they announced their intention to one day compete with the likes of Sainsbury’s and Tesco.

But despite the formidable nature of their challenge, the pair are already reporting remarkable success.

hiSbe, which stands for how it Should be, provides food that is affordable, sustainable, and locally and sustainably sourced.

Brands are stocked as long as they are highly rated by the Ethical Consumer Index and the company insist on paying its suppliers a fair price.

They now employ 14 members of staff and can boast 3,000 customers a week – up from 2,500 last year. After achieving 101 percent of their sales targets in the first 12 months, they have now delivered a total turnover of more than £2m.

Huge local support for the project has led to the sisters increasing the sale space within their 3000 sq ft site by 20 percent and upping their stock from 2,500 products to 3,500.

“We are incredibly well supported by local residents,” says Amy, 37. “It shows that this kind of business can be financially stable.

“We hope to open a further 10 stores in the Brighton and Hove area within the next five years and we want to develop a national chain within the next 30 years.”

Prior to starting hiSbe, Amy worked in the charity sector on behavioural change projects while Ruth, 41, was pursuing a career in sales and marketing.

They started the Community Interest Company with the help crowd-funding platform Buzzbnk, and the government-backed Start-Up Loans initiative.

The pair have also been mentored by the Body Shop’s co-founder, Gordon Roddick, who approached the sisters after hearing about the project.

To learn more about hiSbe, visit the website here.

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