The fall of the supermarket empire?

The mighty empires of the supermarket have blighted the British countryside with their huge retail structures and tarmac tracts of car parks.  They have invaded our towns and laid waste to the hinterlands in the pursuit of the public Danegeld.

Empires often seem at their most indomitable shortly before they fall. The march of the supermarket giants across our food and shopping landscape has, until very recently, felt inexorable.

There is barely a small town in the country where the big chains have not planted their ring-road retail sheds – however strong the local opposition – and it seemed there was no part of our consuming lives they did not want to capture.

The rise of loyalty cards over the past three decades has added a new layer to the business of shopping with customs able to save points and the retailer garnering a huge amount of data on each customer.

But now it seems the tide is being halted.  Just recently Tesco have pulled out of a deal to built a mega store and sports ground and with their recent bad publicity the giant appears to be toppled.

The creeping advance of the German discounters and the increase of pound shops and discount stores have challenged the big four and now Aldi is overtaking Waitrose.

It seems that our grocery shopping habits are changing and where as a few years ago we were visiting the out of town retail parks to make all our purchases in one location, we are now shopping around and sourcing the best bargains.

On a recent trip up and back on the Motorways I was astonished to count the number of trucks delivering to B&M and Home Bargains.  Both stores have spring up all over the country taking over other retail outlets and offering basic household goods and food at discount prices.

The revelation that as a nation we were throwing away at least a fifth of the food we buy has brought the realisation that we need to be more aware of what and how much we are buying.

What is the point of a three for two offer if you do not need that amount of a product?  Also the message of eating more fresh fruit and vegetables and locally sourced products.  As Farmers’ Markets become more prolific we have re-discovered that shopping can be fun and entertaining.

Common sense seems to have been re-discovered by the shopping public and instead of sticking to one supermarket they have become more promiscuous and are tracking bargains, special offers and using strict shopping lists.

We are interested to know how our readers shop and if we are driven by price, location or loyalty:

  • Do you shop on line?
  • Do you visit the same shop every time?
  • Is parking an issue?
  • Have you changed your shopping habits lately?
  • Are you influenced by the service from staff in supermarkets?

Please do let us know what experiences influence where you do your shopping.

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