I WAS delighted to read that York appeared near the bottom of a league of venues for big chain stores ('Flop of the shops', March 24).

That is exactly where this lovely, small, charming and historic city should be.

If the residents of York wanted our city to compete with Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield then they would live there and not here. More appropriate commercial competitors are surely Harrogate, Durham and Chester, all similarly well supplied with small, individual, shops alongside compact versions of the big named stores. I suspect York may come near the top of a league for the latter.

Jill Moger,

Millfield Lane,

Nether Poppleton, York.

Updated: 10:29 Saturday, March 26, 2005