If I didn’t know better I’d have thought Nick was a part-time publicist for Sainsburys. For the last few weeks he’s been hopping up and down like a toddler who needs a wee, desperate for the new store to open in Greenwich’s ugliest shopping centre, just opposite the old Borough Hall.
He says “Finally we won’t have to deal with the hopeless Co-Op and its amazing queuing system and inability to regularly stock milk and eggs.”
To be honest I hadn’t even noticed that the Co-Op had stopped being a Somerfield – I gave up on it ages ago. I guess it’s done for now – unless they raise their game considerably. Though, thinking about it, the Co-Op in Trafalgar Road still has massive queues after it re-furbed when a Tesco opened a cough and a spit away, so maybe it’s a little early to write an obit.
The shops that I worry rather more about are the Royal Hill Lovelies – the high-quality, independent stores that rely on service and convenience rather than price to entice shoppers. All the time they only had a rubbish supermarket to deal with, they have been relatively safe, but if Sainsburys ups the ante enough, it could mean a slow trickle of shoppers just nipping in there after work, meaning to patronise the small shops later, but somehow slipping into the habit of it.
Sainsbury’s isn’t top of the tree, supermarket-wise. A Waitrose would be far more of a threat to the RHLs. But it’s likely to have been the most successful food retailer last Christmas, and it certainly piles ‘em high and sells ‘em relatively cheap.
We don’t really have a precedent in Trafalgar Road with cute independent stores (sigh) though La Salumeria had a re-fit after the invasion of Tesco, and it still seems to be doing well (it’s hard to tell, but it’s looking good, despite their sad loss last year…) And there’s actually been a new greengrocer’s open since then. I don’t know how they’re doing, but they clearly thought they could go head to head with two local supermarkets, when they wrote their business plan.
Only time will tell. All I know is that Nick’s beside himself with excitement at the idea of shopping at Sainsburys. And I know the feeling. I used to have the same irrational joy whenever I walked into a Woolworths. I guess Nick will be hoping that Sainsburys doesn’t follow that particular shop’s career path.
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