Sainsbury’s arrives

Round here everyone’s been talking about the opening of a dinky branch of Sainsbury’s in the village. It’s one of the firm’s tiny convenience stores (no car park, no deli, no Starbucks…). Everyone’s happy except the other local retailers, all of whom hate it. The off licenses, supermarkets, butchers and petrol station are all certain it’ll kill them off. The insertion of mega-brand convenience stores like these into fragile local business ecologies will be a powerful diagnostic for their health. The weakest could be destabilised and might collapse &ndash: a disaster for diversity and choice. Are planners considering the chilling effect of the big brands when they approve their applications?

Meanwhile, The Economist wonders if the chain can survive as an independent entity under opera buff Peter Davis: “Can a mass-market retailer successfully sell both gourmet olive oil to City analysts in London and white bread north of Watford? For the moment, Tesco is doing it. But Sainsbury fails to deliver a superior offer on any count: not price, not range, not quality” (you’ll need a subscription to see this story).


  1. Dear Sir/Madam,

    I am a final year undergraduate at Brunel University studying Business Management and my dissertation title is as follows, “Given the dynamic growth of the major supermarket chains what does the future hold for the independent retailer.”

    This is a subject very close to my heart as my father owns his own supermarket and I have been working there for the last 5 years and have just completed a gap year there as well last year, and I fully understand the severe threat proposed by large supermarkets. I would also like to once I graduate to take over the family business so this dissertation topic coincides with my future plans.

    Basically any information you have on the topic would be greatly appreciated. What I am after is what your organisations views are on the topic, how it is helping the retailer, what the future holds for the retail sector, current market trends, how businesses can survive this threat, the effect of the large supermarket on independent retailers ranging from the traditional corner shop to convenience stores to family butchers, local pharmacies, off-licences and basically ideas along these lines. Any literature or material that you can recommend for my research would be greatly appreciated. Additionally if you would like to personally get in contact with myself that would be most ideal. Please instruct me by email reply as to what the next best step is.

    Kind regards,

    Amit Fatania

  2. Mr Fatania,

    I believe what you are doing is a shining example to us all. i hope your hard work pays off for both you and your father. May i suggest looking closely at welfare economics, and particularly so at the negative externalities that these monstrous, and even to some extent, footloose multi-national corporations, have on society as a whole.

    I myself was subject to stiff competition, and am still so. the best line of defence is to maintain that one facet which is unmatched by large beasts, friendship. assume the role as a friend to the consumer, this enables you to increase the consumer loyalty of the clientel. I am sure with you vast experience in retailing, particularly that whole one at your shop, you are in the prime position to help your father, making use of that youthful excuberance that you have.

    All the best

    Punit Patel

  3. Thanks for referring me to this site Punit, I think it is about time we had some organised action against Sainsbury’s. I don’t know how long independent retailers will be able to survive. I have started a petition in my shop which a lot of the customers have signed, and I intend to mail this to my MP. I think if we all work together and maybe start a forum to attract other independent retailers, maybe we can fight of the unfair competition. United we will stand, what do you say Punit, Amit?

    if you want to contact me, do so at : p_singhgill 1978 at ya hoo co uk.

    look forward to hearing from you both.

Comments are closed.