Beloved Nour Cash & Carry faces 22% rent hike

By Zoe Jewell

 Saja Shaheen (centre left) and her father (centre right) at their shop Nour    

 (Pics by Jeannine Mansell)

The popular Nour Cash & Carry grocers in Brixton Market, ten years old this year, is facing massive rent hikes which could threaten their business.

The management of the market, In Shops Retail, have served Nour with an order to end their tenancy agreement and start a new one with a 22% rent increase.

The family originally opened a bargain food store in the market in 1997. They opened Nour Cash & Carry a decade ago in 2002 and have seen the market through both good and bad times.

Nour had a ten-year lease of the shop which they renewed last year. However, the new contract is on “a rolling basis” and In Shops have taken advantage of that flexibility to start up another lease under stringent terms. Nour have been given until May 23 to renew the lease.

Saja Shaheen, whose family own the middle eastern grocers, said: “In the past, we’ve been so complacent and said ‘yes’ when they backdated the rent. Six months ago, they backdated the service charge. I thought this time we have to go in strong.”

Ms Shaheen also described the conditions under InShops, who took control of the market in May 2010, as difficult. “The old management walked around the market and you could approach them. At least they were there and you could make an appointment with them. With InShops, it’s ‘you go to our lawyers’. We’ve gone to our lawyers and we’re going to try to negotiate. If we give in, then what chances do the smaller shops have?

“I think because our shop is quite big, it’s ideal to get us out and maybe split the shop up into different units. I don’t know if that’s the case though.”, said Shaheen. “Brixton the way it is now, I wouldn’t be surprised at all. It’s just not feasible for us – 22%! We don’t want to leave. We will fight.”

The rent hike comes amid fears from many of the older traders that their position is threatened as new restaurants come in prepared to pay higher prices and now often backed by bigger chains. “Brixton is thriving at the moment – and I really do think that’s great and I love that – but I think our shop is so community based. People don’t come from north London to buy our groceries, they come from north London to eat food and to see ‘Brixton Village’. We need to reflect that and I can’t justify saying to our customers ‘we’re going to increase the prices because the rent has gone up’. We don’t want to compromise price or quality, which is what we’re about at the end of the day. I think the management is not looking after who it should be looking after. It’s not vested in the future, in that it’s interested in bringing the money in.”

Matt Steele, operations manager at In Shops, responded to the notion that In Shops is not invested enough in the community saying: “I would like to dispel that rumour”. He said that Ms Shaheen’s comments were “inaccurate” but would give no further detail or comment.

Nour are now negotiating with In Shops’ lawyers to fight the rent increase.

Saja Shaheen at Nour Cash & Carry

19 COMMENTS

  1. Not to hijack this thread, but I’d like to find out if I’m eligible for a higher priced rental and I have no idea how to find a local, highly regarded property management firm… do you know anything about this company? They’re listed in the city of Sacramento, CA 15 minutes from my home and I can’t find reviews on them – Sacramento Property Management Consultants, 600 H St Sacramento, CA 95814 (916) 282-3103.

  2. Hundreds of families in Brixton depend on Nour for their affordable daily groceries. Nour provides them a taste of their various homelands for the price that they can pay. Now that so many Britons are struggling to manage their budgets, forcing Nour out of market by hiking the rent just so would mean making so many people’s lives tougher, for no good reason other than to try to squeeze more money out of those who already have little. Please sign this petition to keep Nour open!

  3. We can’t let this happen! People need places to shop for affordable food. It’s all very well bringing in new businesses to the area but forcing existing ones out by rent increase is going to have a negative affect ONLY on local people. We’ve got to keep the mix right.

    The Council and local partners are writing a Food Strategy for Lambeth and stuff like this needs to be considered in it!!…if you want to add your views please visit https://www.facebook.com/Lambethfood

  4. It’s incredible that greed can wreck something that has become so successful through local people’s vision and hard work. Noor is absolutely part of what makes Brixton Market so characterful and dynamic and the very reason why people want to come from far and wide. ‘Don’t kill the goose that lays the golden eggs’.

  5. This can not be allowed to happen. everyone must campaign to stop the rise in rates and rent so that we can enjoy the market as a market and not as a shopping mall. before we know it Inshop will take a backhander from a chain who will ride on the back of all the work done by the existing market stall holders and restaurants. Who are these people from INSHOP? do they live in Brixton? Do they know what a struggle it must have been for Nour during the years of misery in the market before all the restaurants opened? .I LOVE NOUR!!!!!!!

  6. I love shopping at Nour – really lovely people and a wonderful selection of produce.

    How can we help? (Beyond shopping there as much as possible?)

  7. I emphatically agree with the other comments. Nours is the heart of the market – our house loves it and we’ve all shopped there for years. I like and have enjoyed the revival of Brixton town centre, but enough is enough. Brixton is not a tourist attraction, it’s a living, breathing residential community, and that community should determine who stays and goes.

  8. I try very hard not to use supermarkets such as Tesco or Sainsburys. That simply wouldn’t be possible without Nour offering such a fantastic variety in their incredible tardis of a shop. They make an invaluable contribution to the market and are a key supplier to most of the restaurants that have opened recently. They have my total support over this and I will do all I can to support them in their fight. Keep fighting Saja – we’re all behind you! x

  9. I too have shopped with Noor for many years . Besides all else they have a huge range of flours for wheat intolerant people. With the very many customers, they must be enabled to stay in the market.

    who are the larger concerns behind some of the food outletsI in Grenville Arcade?

  10. I love Nour and have been shopping there for many years… Was afraid we were gonna lose them when the lease was up last year, Brixton CANNOT let this happen! Enough restaurants ALREADY!!!

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