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Are high street hairdressers facing the chop?

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This weekend I managed to spend some time in the newly extended local Tesco (Middlebrook) and was amazed to see the extent of goods and services they are now offering. There is a hairdressing salon in there – offering not just cuts, but tans and manicures and many of the basic beauty regimes so many of us enjoy these days (bikini waxing included). It made me chuckle to think you could get your waxing done in Tesco,  but what a smart move. As a busy working Mum, who regularly needs a last minute tan or manicure, I made a mental note that the salon in Tesco was open for extended hours, and could come in handy!

I didn’t think at the time of the impact it might have on local businesses, but have read today in the Times of the concern expressed by The Forum of Business, who have warned that this move by Tesco to open low-cost beauty parlours, could put independent hairdressers out of work and deal a fresh blow to our already ailing high streets.

Tesco argue that there is plenty of room in the beauty market, and that might be so, but with the buying power Tesco has, how can smaller salons compete, not only with the opening hours Tesco can offer, but the low prices on not only beauty services, but also on beauty products, sales of which account for 14% of hairdressers turnover. 

As a consumer you might think it’s a good thing, as it will lower prices. But will it lower standards and put consumers at risk? I think so, as it will be corners (and not just fringes) that are going to be cut.  Independent hairdressers are going to have to make savings to compete and survive, and this might mean more unqualified and un-registered people working in an already unregulated industry, and less and less taking out public liability insurance, which would protect their customers should something go wrong. And unfortunately, things do go wrong, and I’m not just talking about a bad haircut. We have dealt with a number of hairdressing and beauty claims, which have left people without hair, disfigured for life and psychologically damaged.

So whilst it’s a very savvy move by Tesco, it does leave me wondering what the knock on effect of this latest move will be.

At Stephensons, we have injury claims lawyers who specialise in pursuing compensation for injuries resulting from negligent hair or beauty treatment. You can contact us by calling 01616 966 229 and we’ll answer any questions you have and let you know if we can take on your case.

By personal injury solicitor and Stephensons’ Partner, Kate Sweeney