BBC BLOGS - Have Your Say
« Previous | Main | Next »

What's wrong with supermarkets?

11:37 UK time, Wednesday, 22 December 2010

At least 577 new supermarkets were approved in the past two years in the UK, according to BBC research. Do you welcome the growth in supermarkets?

Campaigners have voiced concerns about the growth of the "big four" - Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda and Morrisons - saying the stores are putting independent traders out of business and destroying high streets.

Unions have welcomed the growth saying new stores have given people employment when they had all but given up hope of ever working again.

Has there been a rise in the number of supermarkets in your area? Have you noticed stores being built in unusual places? Do you work for one of the big four? Are you an independent retailer?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Comments

Page 1 of 4

  • Comment number 1.

    A few years ago, I went to war against the local council about a planning for a supermarket A development which was in contravention to the town plan. The press got the story and within 48 hours the development was stopped. Since then the same council has contravened the town plan to allow developments by supermarket B and supermarket C. I don't like these cosy arrangements. Is there favouritism extended by the planners? The biggest culprits with regard to irresponsible selling of alcohol in our area is the supermarkets, but the council/licencing authority will not prosecute

  • Comment number 2.

    The NRA have a mantra which says 'Guns don't kill people; people kill people.' You can neatly paraphrase this to 'Supermarkets don't kill independant traders; people kill independant traders.'

    The supermarket is simply the people's weapon of choice.

  • Comment number 3.

    they got to where they are by being the best they started out as small business's themselves. if they weren't the best for us then nobody would shop there.

  • Comment number 4.

    They're great for poor people as they provide jobs and food, a warm cafe in the winter and they can stand in the freezer aisle on hot summer days. But if you can afford decent food then they make it much harder to find somewhere selling good quailty produce.

  • Comment number 5.

    The only way to stop the increase of the supermarkets ( as with all other corporate behemoths ) is to support your local suppliers, and NOT use them. You will of course have to pay a higher price for the privilege of using locally produced veg and what not.......Seasonal items! Why do you want to eat strawberries out of season? Do I need aubergines on tap? NO!! As for wines? Generic tat that most people in their own countries wouldn't wash their cars with.

    Still answering HYS questions:
    1: NO- still the same amount.
    2: NO- Define "Unusual"?
    3: No- Don't work for them, but worked for the Co-Op "whne I were a lad"
    4: No- Not an independent retailer

  • Comment number 6.

    Actually I was going to say a lot against them but felt the bile rise. So I will say this, I live in Europe where fresh open street markets are great.
    I meet people,
    I talk to traders,
    I get fresh not frozen goods, fresh as in not in plastic and filled with Nitrogen (I think),
    I am allowed to have non round potatoes and tomatoes, and curved bananas,
    sometimes there is even a bit of dirt on root vegetables.

    In the markets I don't have to drive miles and I do not get loads of external packaging that has to be recycled.

    My money goes to the local farmers and traders who do not give it over to faraway shareholders.

    Makes sense I think.

    Supermarkets are like giant Boozeb*****s with add ons. cheap booze and fags anyone???

  • Comment number 7.

    Our local supermarket bribed the council by helping to fund the new sports stadium!

    Supermarkets are slowly destroying the high street, all because the people using them in preference to the small trader are idiots.

  • Comment number 8.

    It's great how the big supermarkets have persuaded people that their savings benefit people. Every pound spent in a supermarket chain is a pound not spent with a local trader who will respend most of it in your local area.

    So save a bit and watch your local shops decline. Do you really benefit?

  • Comment number 9.

    I had eight items on my shopping list which the big 4 don't stock. These are not obscure and I got them from two local independents.
    Shock horror, I discovered that my favourite wine was £1.50 a bottle cheaper than it was in the superstore, and it was not even on promotion at the independent. So much for supermarket good value.

  • Comment number 10.

    Have you noticed stores being built in unusual places?

    I saw one built inside a Badger

  • Comment number 11.

    There's nothing wrong with supermarkets.

    They are usually in out of town locations, easy to get to, free parking, sell most things, lower prices, can collect their internet items in store, often have a cafe.

    Why would anyone what to fight their way into a town centre, rip off parking charges, hike from shop to shop to find what you want, pay higher prices?

    So long as there are reasonable bus services to and from for those without cars, I cannot find any fault with out of town centre supermarkets.

  • Comment number 12.

    There is nothing wrong with supermarkets. They provide customers with a service they require. The fault of failing town centres is due more to council policies. It is obvious that people will use supermarkets, where they can park for free. Council parking rules in towns with high charges activley discourage potential customers from shopping there.

  • Comment number 13.

    A Tesco metro just opened round the corner from me in a derelict pub (shut after losing its licence after several criminal incidents). A Tesco Metro is vastly preferable to a dodgy pub or a derelict pub.

    On a similar note there are three large DIY 'supermarkets' within a couple of miles of my house (a B&Q, a Wickes & a Homebase) yet the small hardware shop survives. It survives because the guy behind the counter knows vastly more about plumbing and carpentry than the chain store staff, he carries a range of incredibly high grade tools (like a £44 Eshwing hammer I bought to floor the loft) and he's quite happy for you to try the tools out (I whacked a few nails into a plank before spending £44 on the hammer). I note that the high grade butchers and Deli's and decent wine merchants in town all survive too by selling a better quality product than the supermarkets too.

  • Comment number 14.

    2. At 11:55am on 22 Dec 2010, bob bobwell wrote:

    The NRA have a mantra which says 'Guns don't kill people; people kill people.' You can neatly paraphrase this to 'Supermarkets don't kill independant traders; people kill independant traders.'

    The supermarket is simply the people's weapon of choice.

    Co
    ...............................................
    Yes, but essentially supermarkets are convenient and people are idle.

  • Comment number 15.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 16.

    7. At 12:10pm on 22 Dec 2010, Anthony Rat wrote:
    Our local supermarket bribed the council by helping to fund the new sports stadium!

    Supermarkets are slowly destroying the high street, all because the people using them in preference to the small trader are idiots.
    _________________________________________________
    I use the supermarket because the "small traders" don't open on Sat morning and most shut at 5pm at night or earlier. Does that make me an idiot? Add in the fact that 'the local high street' has no parking and it can take half a day to get served because the staff in the butchers chat to the regulars ahead of me and you can see the attraction of Tescos.

  • Comment number 17.

    It has been clear for a number of years that supermarkets have too much power over the consumer (who they rip off), the farmers (who they drive to bankruptcy), the council (who they corrupt) and the environment (which they are in the process of wrecking).

  • Comment number 18.

    The Rugby League club in my town were desperate to move from their old, ramshackle stadium into a new one. The breweries had all been demolished, and there was some "brown field" space going cheap. The club stated in the local rag that they needed £500,000 to buy and develop that "brown field" site. I wrote to the paper saying that I would put up £1000, and if 499 other fans were interested, we, the actual fans could own our clubs ground. Although the letter was published in the "letters" section, and I had a jokey phone call from the clubs chairman, nothing came of my efforts. Within 2 months it was announced that a large supermarket chain had "saved" the club, by buying the land for them. The price? A supermarket next door to the new stadium, and shared car parking space for both the club and the store. I would have made a complaint, but the whole gang in charge, the club and the supermarket chain had vested interests, I believe - so who would have listened? This is the main problem. It is undemocratic, not illegal.

  • Comment number 19.

    Have to say this argument just highlights the massive social void that exists in the UK...

    "I say Tarquin let us eat foie gras and caviar from our over priced independent retailer *snort* *snort*"

    I'm sorry but the average Joes among us, hard working tax payers, just want a square meal (not TV dinners either) at an affordable price.

  • Comment number 20.

    I must admit I am surprised that the number of stores is still growing. I would have thought the trend for more online home delivery shopping would have stopped this.

  • Comment number 21.

    Surely the growth of Supermarkets is a good thing with so many out of work at the moment.

    That said I appreciate there are other factors and the closure of a local butcher or baker is not good.

    Then again shops like Gregs seem to do ok.

  • Comment number 22.

    The recent BBC series "Turn Back Time" showed exactly why the Supermarkets have got into the position they're in; while almost every single person shopping on the High Street talked about how much they loved the service & quality of the small traders they still went and shopped at the supermarket because it was cheaper and able to offer a wider variety of products.

    Turn Back Time - The High Street
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00v7p71

  • Comment number 23.

    The problem with small, independent retailers around where I live is that they cost significantly more and the quality is often the same or even inferior to the big supermarket chains. They also open at 9am and close at 5pm which makes shopping after work impossible. It's this kind of inflexibility (and price) which has led to people choosing to shop at the big supermarket chains.

    #6 raises a good point. Why is it when I go to Germany, France, Italy or Spain there is a decent outdoor market close by selling locally grown produce, but very rarely do I see them here? I go to a farmers' market when I can but again I can only get there in my lunch-break when most of the goods have already been sold.

  • Comment number 24.

    The short answer to the first question is yes, which annoys me greatly. I have no problem with supermarkets as such and many of my local independent traders don't deserve to be in business. They've sold me rancid poultry, complained loudly and vocally when I've paid by credit card, given me odd 'Little Britain' stares if they don't recognise me and charged me opportunistic rip-off prices for essential goods during emergencies, so I'm more than happy to do without them.

    What's irksome, though, is that supermarkets are mainly interested in grabbing market share from each other, rather than in opening new stores in areas which could actually benefit from them; in my experience, if chain A opens up in a new location, chain B and C follow suit, each hoping to take business from the other. It's this aspect of what they do that needs to be contained, I think, as the only beneficiary is the survivor.

  • Comment number 25.

    I've always loved the way in which the supermarkets sell themselves to the councils. We create jobs, they don't mention how many they remove and no one has probably done a study as it wouldn't be in the supermarkets interest. High volume retailing with low margins is always going to reduce staffing!

    I personally try to avoid the supermarkets I buy my meat, eggs and veg from farm shops, it's much better and normally cheaper. I think a lot of people go to supermarkets because of the apparent convenience and the hours they work. Farm shops are all are not open at 2am, but then that's fine with me I'm asleep!

    I've heard stories (from the actual producers) of supermarkets paying below the cost of storage for out of season British fruit, they are all too powerful. Consumer might like 'cheap' prices now, but I'd prefer to have British farmers in work and British produce on my plate in 10 years time rather than Eastern European factory meat which the supermarkets have decided people want to eat.

    This having been said Amazon are just as bad, if not worse for squeezing small businesses, so it's not just the 'big 4', but being online it might not be quite so obvious!

  • Comment number 26.

    Many things are wrong thy are just big , greedy, and selfish bullies'!!! just asked the farmers' and growers' and all the small business people they have made bankrupt, for a start!!! The main probelm today is they are trying take over many other non food business, i.e car insurance ,banking, travel, which they do very badly most of the time, but offer cheap prices; for useless services' Which I found out to my cost.

  • Comment number 27.

    I still cant understand why I should support the local trader when he/she is far more expensive than a supermarket especialy now when things are hard.

    Please correct me and I know you will,
    Is'nt buisness about competition?
    Why is it seen that local traders are important?
    Why is it that supermarkets are seen as bad, when things have never been cheaper or of better quality?

    Peronally I like the competition between supermarkets, thats healthy.
    So why all the hatred for them?

    This is genuine, I dont understand and I'd like someone to explain.
    Thanks




  • Comment number 28.

    Supermarkets: don't use them. I love my local market in Stockport. Use markets and your local high street. You'll find it isn't the inconvenience you think it is. The service is better and, as markets and small shops don't overpackage their stuff, you'll find that your bin isn't so full every week. Better all round. Do it! Be part of the resurgence of the traditional British market.

  • Comment number 29.

    My local Tesco sells me what I want, when I want - at a price that is acceptable. These places are only successful because they understand what people want, and provide it.

    It's time small retailers understood that.

  • Comment number 30.

    Supermarkets force smaller retailers to close and thereby restrict competition.
    They also dictate to their suppliers when they will offer 'two for one'etc at the expense of these suppliers but at no cost to themselves.
    These supermarkets are not benevolent retailers working within and for the benefit of the communities but hardheaded capitalists who organize to remove any competition.
    Perhaps most people are not concerned about how they operate as long as they get cheap goods.......but you should be aware of the real price which is payed by others.

  • Comment number 31.

    I understand the arguments on both sides. Yes, the High Street is dying; Yes, the supermarkets have increased choice and availability of produce, while keeping prices low (thereby killing the High Street). All well and good if price and competition were the only factors. To the UK social rabble, that is probably all that is important and the big 4 pander to it.
    How about the increased pollution (owing to the millions of cars queueing for petrol and parking at the out-of-town centres); how about the misuse of water resources in places that don't have enough (growers in foreign lands); how about the wasted food coming out of these places on a daily basis, heading for landfill?
    Supermarkets have a right to grow, of course. But should it be at the expense of resources and health? Do cities and towns have a right NOT to be blighted by these Temples of the Lazy, despite the nepotism and downright corruption in the local Planning departments?
    Each development proposal should be publicly debated, not just passed without local consideration by unqualified and unquestioned nobodys with ulterior personal (and financial) motives.
    The idea of a supermarket chain buying up a High St and running it in its original form for the sake of the Community is yet to be considered, as an alternative to digging up green belt and putting ghastly eyesores in their place. Why not?
    The supermarkets cater to the lazy, disorganised, rabble who don't have an eye for good, local produce, just 'feed me' attitudes. Store points or not. They are dumbing-down what interest we have in cuisine, while increasing the damage and danger to local communities by blind, immoral and unethical approaches to alcohol, tobacco and crap 'food'. Those of us still with a palate cannot find anywhere to buy decent produce. Could that be a case for denial of Human Rights?
    They should be pegged. We do not need more supermarkets. We need more variety and a return to home-grown produce, increasing farming and providing wardens for the land. If supermarkets want to be responsible then support rebuilding the UK by supporting local suppliers and maintaining our architectural standards.
    Supermarket 'chain' never had a more oppressive meaning than the chains wrapped securely around our right to choose what we eat.

  • Comment number 32.

    There's nothing wrong with supermarkets; they're legitimate businesses going about their business legitimately. They tend to be disliked by those that can't compete, but 'twas ever thus.

    Supermarkets are cheap, convenient and ubiquitous; what is there to not like?

  • Comment number 33.

    Billy wrote: They're great for poor people as they provide jobs and food, a warm cafe in the winter and they can stand in the freezer aisle on hot summer days. But if you can afford decent food then they make it much harder to find somewhere selling good quailty produce.

    erm... have you any idea how arrogant and pompous you actually are?

  • Comment number 34.

    20. At 12:25pm on 22 Dec 2010, Peter Hoath wrote:
    I must admit I am surprised that the number of stores is still growing. I would have thought the trend for more online home delivery shopping would have stopped this.
    ____________________________________________

    Ocado deliver from huge centralised warehouses. Most of the others have their staff pick up your home delivery order from the supermarket shelves in the local store and deliver to you from there.

  • Comment number 35.

    Its not the supermarkets fault.
    You try getting a FREE parking space anywhere near the highstreet.
    And who wants to hike around the high street carrying a load of shopping?

  • Comment number 36.

    Nothing wrong with them except they are not part of any community. They keep prices down by (some more than others)screwing growers & suppliers to bankruptcy. They think a spirit of community is customers collecting stamps for school gym equipment etc. The staff have no idea who the customers are the customers have little idea who the staff are. Neither much cares either.
    They corner the whole foodstuffs market and don't give me any the competitions commission make sure there is open competion argument.
    They destroyed the real taste of food. Like a lot today all front, no substance. Some of us would pay a little more for REAL quality not what we are told is quality.
    We have another massive T***co opening locally after a 3 year fight by local traders. Thats the death of our market town shops and the people we know who run them.......

  • Comment number 37.

    I like our local Morrisons store. It`s clean, well stocked and well organised. The staff are friendly, and the ones that handle the bread, fish, meat etc are not the ones handling the money.
    In the local butchers, which I used for convenience a few days ago, the woman serving wasn`t very pleasent, and she was handling the money along with the meat. Also the quality of the beef I bought there wasn`t very good.
    There was a similar lack of hygiene and service in the local sandwich shop. The staff there wore blue rubber gloves to make the sandwiches, but kept those same gloves on to while they took payment and worked the till.
    I was glad to get back to Morrisons. And no, I don`t work for them.
    So, I say good luck to the supermarkets. They`ve got a lot of things right.

  • Comment number 38.

    People will always support their local shops - right up until the point where they actually have to pay the bill; then they go to where ever is cheapest.

  • Comment number 39.

    How many of the checkout operators in the supermarkets can add up or even speak English?
    My local independent owner still uses a greaseproof pencil which is usually tucked behind his ear and he has a civil "good morning" every day.
    The prices charged by the supermarkets is far higher than they need to be anyway because they have stuck an extra couple of percent on to cover the costs of credit cards being used by people, usually women, who only want a Mars bar and then £10 cashback. This also causes long queues at checkouts.
    The financial troubles of this country could possibly be solved almost overnight by charging the retailer £50 card tax. The retailer should of course be banned from passing on this tax to the consumer.

  • Comment number 40.

    23. At 12:27pm on 22 Dec 2010, suchan104 wrote:
    The problem with small, independent retailers around where I live is that they cost significantly more and the quality is often the same or even inferior to the big supermarket chains. They also open at 9am and close at 5pm which makes shopping after work impossible. It's this kind of inflexibility (and price) which has led to people choosing to shop at the big supermarket chains.
    _______________________________________________

    If I could recommend a comment that one would get my vote. A high street with a dozen or so independent retailers open 9 till 5 Mon to Friday was fine when the man went out to work 9-5 Mon-Fri and the wife stayed at home and had all day to shop locally and daily. Things change but too many small retailers try and remain in the 1950's.

    I find the small high grade shops (like the bakers which bake fresh bread daily) are far superior to supermarkets but too many 'local shops' leave the ready sliced bread on the shelf for half a week so that not only is it more expensive than the supermarket its half stale when you buy it. At least the big chains have such massive turnover in stock that its rare the bread has been out for more than a day.

  • Comment number 41.

    I am under no doubt that the big supermarkets have reduced many high streets to a shadow of their former selves. On the other hand, so many people use supermarkets that the public are mainly voting with their feet in favour of them. And is there any wonder?
    In my town there is a giant Tesco - some call it 'Terminal 5'. It runs parallel to the High Street. It offers food, clothing, electronics and many other product types all in the warm indoors under one roof. Car parking is free for 3 hours and some is undercover. What does the High Street offer? Shooping in the freezing cold. Expensive car parks. Parking meters with officious and avaricous traffic wardens ready to pounce if you overstay for 5 minutes. Can you wonder that many High Street shops are boarded up? The same Council that permitted the Tesco development and then expansion also wants every car parker to pay through the nose. What does the council do? It spends millions on fancy paving stones! They are as responsible as the supermarket for destroying the town centre.

  • Comment number 42.

    I don't see anything inherently wrong with supermarkets. They provide lots of products at (usually) good prices and with a fairly decent service. If people didn't like them, they wouldn't use them. It's not the supermarket's fault that customers choose to shop at the supermarket instead of a smaller local shop. Besides, didn't the supermarkets once start out as a humble shop? Why knock their growth and expansion? Their success is good for Britain, surely.

  • Comment number 43.

    The phrasing of the question makes the BBC's stance on this very clear.

  • Comment number 44.

    My local independent stores only take cash, which appears to be a dying form of payment. There is also restricted parking around the local shops. They normally only stock about 40% of the items I regularly buy in a supermarket.
    For those reasons, I can't be bothered to shop in small stores. I would much rather get the job done in one visit. Supermarket is about 2 mins away by car, has ample parking and stocks everything I need. Therefore it wins every time. That's life. Sadly.

  • Comment number 45.

    "7. At 12:10pm on 22 Dec 2010, Anthony Rat wrote:
    Supermarkets are slowly destroying the high street, all because the people using them in preference to the small trader are idiots."

    What a ridiculous statement to make. People are not idiots for using supermarkets, they have their reasons. Just because you don't agree with them is not excuse to brand them like that.

  • Comment number 46.

    Small , independent shops have to learn to trade on something that is special and unique and not try to compete with the supermarkets.There is a butcher in my village that provides high quality, organic meat, cheese and eggs. It wins customers on the basis of the quality of its products and personal service.Supermarkets, withtheir advantage of scale in purchasing , will always be able to provide goods at a lower price.

  • Comment number 47.

    #2 Bob Bobwell writes "The supermarket is simply the people's weapon of choice."

    It is crass logic no matter how cleverly written.

    It can be argued people "get" the TV, the Premier League, armed police, terrorist detention laws, a Coalition, and so on ad nauseum because "they wanted it". But we know it isn't that simple.

    The Nazis would have loved you as their PR man but where common folk are concerned fascists build people bypasses and then say "But it is what you said you wanted". When asked for proof they trapse around with consultation notes that hadn't seen the light of day before that. As with the NRA the devil is in the detail.

  • Comment number 48.

    This whole free / capitalist market led economy is all about exploitation and greed, unfortunately as a single income household I'm afraid I add to the exploitation and regulary spend well above average in one of the big four! It would be great to have principles etc, but I generally go to where my money is best used. Plus the type of lifestyle we have is not suited to market / farm fayres etc.........

  • Comment number 49.

    its now become a case whereby we use the supermarkets because the small traders have closed butchers greengrocers and the like have had to close, we the consumers do not get much difference in the price of the goods from the mainstream supermarket players its probably the case most use the one nearest to home ,i believe its bad in the long run ,where you have these giants who can dictate to farmers and the like ,its like the oil companys who dictate the price ,and we the public have little choice but to pay up,

  • Comment number 50.

    What's wrong with supermarkets? They can build where they want, charge what they want, open when they want, monopolise trade, rip farmers off, end local trade, destroy town centres and worst of all make massively huge profits on what are essentially the basic needs of people. Like energy companies and public transport, supermarkets capitalise on/exploit the public's everyday functional needs.

  • Comment number 51.

    Are the small local traders willing to meet me half way? I'll change my ways if they change theirs by opening at times when I can actually use them. Like very many people, I work 9-5 Mon-Friday, exactly the same hours as my local high street traders so it's impossible for me to shop locally on weekdays. It's not wholly the customers' fault that we use supermarkets.

  • Comment number 52.

    Town planners, now there is an interesting undercover investigation..

  • Comment number 53.

    The buying public vote with their feet. The demise of mixed shopping is regretable,but I won't repeat all the very true arguments for supermarket success listed by many here. Not least parking, comfort and Council attitudes. Too late to change now....sorry. The bustling town centre we knew is a gonner. Welcome charity shops, pound shops and err charity shops and err. They built all the massive retail trade out of town. Time to think about housing in the abandoned town centres

  • Comment number 54.

    We don't use any of the four you list, but do use M&S or Waitrose. All our meat, fish, bread and fresh veg comes from local traders and is far better than that offered by any supermarket (including the two I mention) and I'm happy to pay a bit more the excellent quality. I accept that it's usually more convenient to use a large supermarket but I get to tell my butcher etc. what I want and am not just restricted to what the supermarket wants to sell. A phone call to the fishmonger will get me whatever I want the next day because he goes up to London to buy his stock most mornings.

    Supermarkets are a neccessary evil but the planning restrictions need to be changed. All new supermarkets should be obliged to include a re-cycling centre in their design so that users can return the vast amount of excess packaging for them to re-cycle. Also, delivery services should be obliged to collect re-cycling for processing back at the store.

  • Comment number 55.

    There were (super)markets long before there were High Street shops. Traders then found it profitable to open up shops in the High Street and shoppers found it convenient to use them, so the (super)markets diminished. Now we all find it convenient to shop at markets, if they are super. And they mostly are. Free parking, clean toilets, cheap snacks, geat variety - where can you get that in our High Streets today?

  • Comment number 56.

    They have moved with the times, small shops have not, get over it. If I want to find the products I want at a decent price I'll go to the supermarket, if I want to star in a two ronnies sketch from the 1970's I'll go to a small independant shop.

    It all smacks of left wing moaning about big businesses daring to make profits, vote labour and we'll have a return to more of the small unhelpful expensive shops of the 1970's - providing they're not closed due to the unions striking!

  • Comment number 57.

    Chief Laughs-at-Trolls compltely captures all that needs to be said when he wrote:

    "The phrasing of the question makes the BBC's stance on this very clear."

    More grauniadista nonsense.

  • Comment number 58.

    I am very torn on this one. I live in fairly central London and a few days ago, our last local shop closed down. Our main street is full of restaurants, estate agents and posh frock shops. All of the little food shops closed down some years ago. And then we have a Sainsburys, Waitrose and M&S right beside a super street market. I can walk there in 15 mins. Ideally, I have a vision of walking down the street with my wicker shopping basket and visiting the butcher, baker and candle stick maker. They, of course, all know me and there is much banter. In my area, those days are gone.
    I fear we cannot stop the relentless strides of the big supermarkets. Most of my neighbours use them. Everything under one roof. But like Christmas cards with gentlemen and ladies in Victorian outfits, our nostalgia is all that is left.

  • Comment number 59.

    I am not a fan of supermarkets, I used to try to buy most of my food via local shops, until I moved in the summer to a new area, where I dont find the butcher to be as good as the butcher where I used to live.

    However we do have a very good fishmonger locally and I do buy my fish from there and a reasonably good veg shop, although I tend to buy my potatoes in bulk from a farm.

    Had to laugh @ Billy's comment (#10)

  • Comment number 60.

    Meh, I don't like the big 4 at all.

    That's why I buy all my fruit & veg and the majority of fish and meat in the local market. They're cheaper, too. They even give me freebies occasionally...

  • Comment number 61.

    Not only do they rip the heart out of communities, they cause congestion on our roads with, "Out of Town" shopping for which our roads were never designed.

  • Comment number 62.

    My town has two Morrisons, one Asda, two Tesco supermarkets. This is not counting the numberous smaller Tesco convenience stores.
    Now Tesco plan to built yet another. There is already a huge Teaco store approx 3 miles away. But by attaching their planning application to the building of a sporting ground it sailed through planning.
    Something needs to be done about this.
    Supermarkets need car parks, the bigger the better - more space for customers. Where people have a free car park.
    But we - the customer - need choice. Local Councils need to look at themselves in regard to approving the siting of these developments, and if people can park freely to go to the supermarket - why would people then pay £2-3 pounds to go to small independent shops

  • Comment number 63.

    The thing about the very large supermarkets, and out of town shopping centres, is that you can take your car, park for free, and wheel your shopping out to it, then onto the shop next door etc. This all started when people began to be paid monthly instead of weekly. When you're paid monthly, one tends to shop at least bi-weekly, or monthly, and, being as one can't carry that amount of shopping in a carry bag, as people used to be able to with a weekly shop, one finds it much easier when all you have to do is wheel the purchases to your car. The high street will never be able to compete with that, so perhaps the answer might be to not try, and find niche markets to make people want to travel into the town centre & use independent traders.

  • Comment number 64.

    The supermarkets are like cartels. The same also applies to the rail and energy companies.

    All 3 are in bed with Govt and most definitely the local councils.

    Here in NE Derbyshire we have a large superstore in Chesterfield a large store in Alfreton and a new large store open in Clay Cross (c. 15 miles between the 2 furthest apart) for one well known chain recently highlighted in the buy x get x free pricing scam.

    Clay Cross already has a small Somerfield/Co-op with another Co-Op less than 5 miles away. A lot of the smaller shops in Clay Cross (butchers, DIY, card shops etc) will close as this chain can use its economies of scale muscle to undercut (without loss leading) these businesses. The local council allowed traffic to be re-routed from the main high street in Clay Cross so instead it passes by Tesco and avoids the high street completely. As the yanks say, go figure!


    Further north in Clowne they opened a Tesco and within next to no time the Co-Op there closed and with a couple of years the Co-Op in nearby Bolsover also closed.

    I suspect the death knell of Clay Cross town centre comes next give or take 6 months.

    Of course these supermarkets provide community project money and provide employment but they need to be reined in...

  • Comment number 65.

    I assume that anyone who is against the growth of supermarkets never shops in one! And why is it that they complain about the aggressive behaviour of the stores yet talk about "going to war" to stop the applications?

  • Comment number 66.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 67.

    *

    47. At 12:46pm on 22 Dec 2010, Daisy Chained wrote:
    #2 Bob Bobwell writes "The supermarket is simply the people's weapon of choice."

    It is crass logic no matter how cleverly written.

    It can be argued people "get" the TV, the Premier League, armed police, terrorist detention laws, a Coalition, and so on ad nauseum because "they wanted it". But we know it isn't that simple.

    *

    TV and the premier league are exactly like supermarkets in your analogy; in that they have been introduced to an open market and enjoy widespread success because people continue to choose to subscribe to these products, just like they choose to continue to use supermarkets. You can't reasonably include armed police and detention laws in the same analogy because these are not commercial products that one can choose whether one uses. And conversely there is no law which can compel one to shop at a supermarket.

    However, part of me takes pride in twisting situations to suit a required point of view (you could say that it's part of my job in a way), so I appreciate your recognition. Nonetheless, if I were the Nazi party's PR man, you might have been first against the wall, so don't think your flattery is going to save you.

  • Comment number 68.

    14. At 12:18pm on 22 Dec 2010, Confuciousfred wrote:

    2. At 11:55am on 22 Dec 2010, bob bobwell wrote:

    The NRA have a mantra which says 'Guns don't kill people; people kill people.' You can neatly paraphrase this to 'Supermarkets don't kill independant traders; people kill independant traders.'

    The supermarket is simply the people's weapon of choice.

    Co
    ...............................................
    Yes, but essentially supermarkets are convenient and people are idle.

    --------------------------------------------------------------

    I'm sure not everyone can afford the 50-100% mark up small shops put on goods. People want value for money, not little choice and expensive products.

    What I can't work out is why the anti-capitalist left has once again teamed up with the wealthy elitist right to have a go at supermarkets for effectively providing good quality food and other services for to those people who can't afford to simple double there weekly food shopping bill just so they can walk around feeling that they have done something for there community just because they have brought local. Here's an idea, if you want to help your community stop artificially raising the value of your home.

  • Comment number 69.

    "27. At 12:31pm on 22 Dec 2010, PipeVVorm wrote:

    I still cant understand why I should support the local trader when he/she is far more expensive than a supermarket especialy now when things are hard.

    Please correct me and I know you will,
    Is'nt buisness about competition?
    Why is it seen that local traders are important?
    Why is it that supermarkets are seen as bad, when things have never been cheaper or of better quality?

    Peronally I like the competition between supermarkets, thats healthy.
    So why all the hatred for them?

    This is genuine, I dont understand and I'd like someone to explain.
    Thanks"



    Well said. I too want an explanation.

    Not only all that but supermarkets employ vastly more people in the community, whereas "local traders" tend to be nepotistic.

    Which is not conducive of the equal opportunities law. And seeks to retain the business oligarchy of small towns and villages to a select few.

    I suppose the people who are against large successful businesses that provide vastly cheaper produce at a lower price; and are instead in favour of "conserving" their local butcher or farmers market want to live in a world that just doesn't exist any more.

    You cannot have free market global capitalism AND a parochial little Englander ideal at the same time.


    Thank me very much.

  • Comment number 70.

    People go on and on about supermarkets killing off smaller stores BUT, it isn't the supermarket that kills them off, it's the fault of the people who shop at the supermarket. If people ignored the new Tesco on the corner and carried on using the smaller independent stores, Tesco would have no impact whatsoever.

    Supermarkets open for longer hours, they're cheaper and they're convenient. I can park right outside and buy all my food and household purchases under one roof.

    So, for all the people on here having a good moan about the rise of supermarkets, can I assume you never set foot in Tesco etc., but wander up and down the High St between 9am and 5pm using all your small independents?

    No...I thought not; what a lot of hypocrites!

  • Comment number 71.

    Children are allowed into supermarkets. That is what is wrong with them.

  • Comment number 72.

    I try to use the village grocer, but the stock is limited and the prices high. It's the same with the DIY shop and the butcher.
    It's not just a matter of "pile it high, sell it cheap". We're used to a wide choice of products these days, and we expect them to be readily available.
    I like real Jamaican pepper sauce, fresh coriander and a particular brand of porridge. The supermarket stocks them, the village shop doesn't - it's that simple.

  • Comment number 73.

    What's this, supermarkets want to build more stores which will mean jobs in construction and then jobs staffing the stores, all in a time when unemployment is going up... how evil of them. I can see why the NIMBY right wing elites are against this, but the union friendly left?

  • Comment number 74.

    Our town consists of numerous fast food takeaways, similar amount of cafe's, a closed down woolworths, usual amount of banks and estate agents about 10 times whats required, approx 10 charity shops. All of this within 1 mile length of high street. Recent developments include a multiplex cinema and planning permission for Tesco to build a superstore smack bang in the middle, just to make sure the last surviving small retailers go under. The pubs are struggling with happy all day cheap booze, so are the takeaways with buy one get one free and free delivery, one is even offering eat in and bring your own booze, so Tesco will be handy there then.

  • Comment number 75.

    It's difficult not to shop in supermarkets though I do try to minimise my use of them. I never go to Tesco - it is too large and aggressive, has been associated with too many dodgy planning activities and I have lived in or near two towns that had the soul ripped out of them by a large Tesco. My preferred supermarket is the Co-op which is smaller, more committed to fair trade, the environment and banning animal testing. I am fortunate in living near a good row of independent local shops though I accept that sometimes I pay a premium to use them.

    Too many of the posts are pointing out how good supermarkets are at keeping costs down for consumers. I suppose this is true up to a point (though nothing beats a good market)but the flip side of this is that superkets often screw down their suppliers to ridulously and unreasonably low prices. Farmers and other suppliers at home and abroad are affected by this. We all have to be realistic about the true cost of food: I don't want my cheap grapes, supermarket brand T shirt, rice whatever.... to be subsidised by a desperately poor family in a developing country; if I bought meat (as a veggie I don't) I would certainly not want cheap produce resulting from factory farming; I don't want to buy flowers produced in a developing country with the workers exposed to harsh conditions and levels of chemicals that would not be acceptable here. And then there's the problem of the air miles!

    And finally, supermarkets are bad for biodiversity because they always go for the standard-looking product, ideally with longer shelf life, never mind the taste. How many varieties of, for example, apple do you regularly see in your local supermarket? A maximum of six??? Yet there are more than 70 English varieties, many of them in danger of dying out and many of them a lot tastier than the ones the supermarkets offer.

  • Comment number 76.

    15. At 12:21pm on 22 Dec 2010, Trench Broom wrote:
    "The problem with left wingers, is they hate success."

    This is not a left/right wing issue.

  • Comment number 77.

    #66 Trench Boom wrote:

    "this is BBC research. The home of left wing anti-capitalism."

    A singular view. In my experience HYS is usually the stronghold of 'Daily Mail'-type ill-informed prejudice and bigotry.

  • Comment number 78.

    Just google "time trumpet, tesco invades denmark"

    Hilarious

  • Comment number 79.

    Generally speaking, the British don't invest much time in eating well, which explains the rise of the supermarket. They would rather has SKY HD+ and eat cheap food than do without SKY, and eat well. Very odd indeed. The climate in Britain isn't too conducive to social interaction, so people tend to shop very quickly and cheaply in order to get back to their TV set.

  • Comment number 80.

    I work in a supermarket and i firmly believe it's about time someone put them all in there place.

    Supermarkets now have too much power, they are practically running are lives for us and they know how your mind works. those pretty displays and where everything is placed is designed not for your plessure but for you to spend your hard earned cash on things you don't really need but you might as well buy as it's such 'good' value.

    And why on earth do they feel the need to open on boxing day and new years day!!!! Christmas is ment to be a time for family but lets forget that and go shopping in Tesco because after all there open so it must be alright to forget our family and having a good time. after shopping is so much fun isn't it.

    It really is about time someone took hold of their reins, said enough is enough and stop letting them get away with murder and undermining our towns by ripping out all competition. soon we will have no other shops and we will be held by the sipermarkets grip, charging what they want and getting away with it!

    IT MUST STOP NOW!!!

  • Comment number 81.

    68. At 1:21pm on 22 Dec 2010, Andy wrote:
    14. At 12:18pm on 22 Dec 2010, Confuciousfred wrote:

    2. At 11:55am on 22 Dec 2010, bob bobwell wrote:

    The NRA have a mantra which says 'Guns don't kill people; people kill people.' You can neatly paraphrase this to 'Supermarkets don't kill independant traders; people kill independant traders.'

    The supermarket is simply the people's weapon of choice.

    Co
    ...............................................
    Yes, but essentially supermarkets are convenient and people are idle.

    --------------------------------------------------------------

    I'm sure not everyone can afford the 50-100% mark up small shops put on goods. People want value for money, not little choice and expensive products.

    -------------------------

    That's probably the same mark up that supermarkets add, it's just that supermarkets can buy them cheaper than small shops.

  • Comment number 82.

    Brighton is being overwhelmed with Tesco and Sainsbury's stores, recently. On one stretch of roads - differently named, but running on from each other for maybe two miles - I can think of three or four Tescos, at least three Sainsbury's, a Waitrose, a Morrisons, and perhaps three Co-ops.

    This is in addition to at least three other large Sainsbury's supermarkets within two miles, two Asdas and from what I gather, plans for at least one more Tesco, on the site of a former community garden (right next to another good-sized Co-op).

    There cannot be a need for this many supermarkets in a city of this size. We've seen local traders downsizing and closing all over town as they are priced out of the market here by bigger stores.

    Brighton prides itself on its individuality, but these supermarkets are removing it from our streets, which is exceptionally sad.

  • Comment number 83.

    1. At 11:55am on 22 Dec 2010, Confuciousfred wrote:

    A few years ago, I went to war against the local council about a planning for a supermarket A development which was in contravention to the town plan.
    The press got the story and within 48 hours the development was stopped

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Well done you for destroying the jobs that supermarket would of created in both the building and staffing of it. Do you judge your worth in the world by how many people have to get by on less than you?

  • Comment number 84.

    70. At 1:25pm on 22 Dec 2010, Mrs Vee wrote:
    "People go on and on about supermarkets killing off smaller stores BUT, it isn't the supermarket that kills them off, it's the fault of the people who shop at the supermarket. If people ignored the new Tesco on the corner and carried on using the smaller independent stores, Tesco would have no impact whatsoever.

    Supermarkets open for longer hours, they're cheaper and they're convenient. I can park right outside and buy all my food and household purchases under one roof.

    So, for all the people on here having a good moan about the rise of supermarkets, can I assume you never set foot in Tesco etc., but wander up and down the High St between 9am and 5pm using all your small independents?

    No...I thought not; what a lot of hypocrites!"
    ---------
    Assume what you like, but it's interesting that in Bristol, you cannot buy a pint of milk from anywhere except Tesco.

    So waffle on about hypocrites while four large chains decide to destroy local shops by all means while people like you help them.

    I can confirm that I do not shop in the big 4 supermarkets. It is possible to get everything necessary from local shops with occasional trips to the Co-Op, a supermakert which is a mutual profit-sharing society so the employees, i.e. locals, benefit. Not all supermarkets are the same and what we do does make a difference.

  • Comment number 85.

    To those who are 'happy to pay a bit more for higher quality', I say good for you. The rest of us will shop at the supermarket.

  • Comment number 86.

    They do their bit for keeping the number in jobs total down, often by employing lots of staff on short hours, great idea as they dont have to give them breaks either.

  • Comment number 87.

    It's crazy! There are 144 Tesco stores in the city where I live.

    Mind you, I live in London.

  • Comment number 88.

    75. At 1:40pm on 22 Dec 2010, devonsongbird wrote:
    "superkets often screw down their suppliers to ridulously and unreasonably low prices"
    -----
    Yes. And cause a number of them to go out of business.

    I think Tesco alone raises some interesting monopoly issues. As one eigth of UK spending is in Tesco, I believe its loss leaders create market distortion. Take books, for instance: these are sold at almost no profit, distorting the market, just to get people through the door.

  • Comment number 89.

    In Oxford city centre there have in the past 3 months been 3 new supermarkets. One replaced a much-loved locally branch of Borders bookshop, and is almost next door to an already existing supermarket, and one replaced an independent lighting shop. The other is where an off license used to be on a street characterised by independent small traders. It's boring and depressing to see them all, to be honest.

  • Comment number 90.

    The more supermarkets the better, competition is the name of the game, and that is all to the benefit of the punters. Those who wish to be ripped off in farm shops, organic shops, fashionably overpriced or fair trade stores are free to do so, but leave the rest of us to choose where we shop. If the so called corner shop cannot compete with the supermarkets, then the owners are in the wrong business.

  • Comment number 91.

    "27. At 12:31pm on 22 Dec 2010, PipeVVorm wrote:
    Please correct me and I know you will,
    Is'nt buisness about competition?"

    -Yes, but competition has to be checked. If the result of competition is to destroy our town centres, then that isn't a good thing.

    "Why is it seen that local traders are important?"

    -Keeps our high streets vibrant. Who wants to see rows of boarded up shops in their town centre?

    "Why is it that supermarkets are seen as bad, when things have never been cheaper or of better quality?"

    Cheap, yes, but better quality? Dubious. I'd choose meet from my butcher than from a supermarket anyday. Supermarkets don't source locally. Supermarket goods have travelled from their source, to a cental distribution centre, before travelling again to the supermarket. Also supermarkets over package their stuff. My bin used to be full of plastic packaging (before I switched to shopping at the local market).

    "Peronally I like the competition between supermarkets, thats healthy.
    So why all the hatred for them?"

    The reasons above. Competition between supermarkets is fair. Competition between supermarkets and small retailers isn't fair. It's not a level playing field.

  • Comment number 92.

    Another big supermarket trick is importing things through the Channel Islands. Not only does this dodge EU and UK tax liabilities (so we have to pay more tax), but it undercuts smaller suppliers at the taxpayer's expense. Another market distortion, and one that affects everyone's tax liabilities.

  • Comment number 93.

    I try to use supermarkets as little as possible, and I then try to use the smaller ones.

    A new Tesco opening near us gradually increased the applications it made so it now has a 24 off-licence and a pharmacy, the pharmacy being very close to an independent pharmacy which has been around for years and provides an excellent service.

    I find Sainsbury's (and Boots) frustrating in that they often only sell their own brand, but the packaging is so similar to that of the brand I would normally purchase it is easily mistaken.

    Then when all the little shops have gone we will probably find the range in the supermarkets reduced.

    And why do they put items on shelves spread far and wide which means you have to wander (and see more of their items - except I usually walk out in a huff without anything) to find the particulr brand that you want. Three or four different aisles for kitchen towels?

  • Comment number 94.

    Although it would seem as though the 'Big Four'are taking over and destroying our High Streets, I think we should try to remember a few things.
    Firstly, some people do not have the economic choice to shop in more expensive outlets.It would be wonderful if everyone could choose to support their local shops or take the 'free-range' or 'organic' option.
    Secondly, I don't think we have really got to grips with the changing nature of people's shopping habits. Years ago, before everyone had a fridge and freezer, people shopped daily for their needs - they had to! Fewer women were in employment and so had the time to shop. These days, we need somewhere where people can 'one-stop-shop'for convenience often following a busy day at work.
    Although I shop at our local town supermarket, I still make another visit to town for my High Street shopping ie. clothes and speciality goods. I think it is in the latter that High Streets should concentrate.

  • Comment number 95.

    84 - "Assume what you like, but it's interesting that in Bristol, you cannot buy a pint of milk from anywhere except Tesco."

    ?

    I'd venture to suggest that comment is less than entirely accurate.

  • Comment number 96.

    83. At 1:46pm on 22 Dec 2010, Andy wrote:
    "1. At 11:55am on 22 Dec 2010, Confuciousfred wrote:

    A few years ago, I went to war against the local council about a planning for a supermarket A development which was in contravention to the town plan.
    The press got the story and within 48 hours the development was stopped

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Well done you for destroying the jobs that supermarket would of created in both the building and staffing of it. Do you judge your worth in the world by how many people have to get by on less than you?"
    ----------
    Confuciousfred, well done! We need more people like you instead of misguided Andy.

  • Comment number 97.

    15. At 12:21pm on 22 Dec 2010, Trench Broom wrote:

    The problem with left wingers, is they hate success.

    Whereas I applaud it. The left claim to support small business, yet some of the big business we see today (like Morrisons, Sainsbury's etc) started off as small businesses. Morrisons started off as a single shop.

    So at what point do the left wing suddenly stop supporting small businesses that become successful? Is it when they can afford to build their own car park? when the chain of shops exceeds 3 stores?

    The left really are an oddity.
    ----------------------------------------
    Bonkers as well.

  • Comment number 98.

    Those who say, "buy from independent traders, then!" don't seem to realise that we have fewer and fewer independent traders to buy from, as the major retailers step in and buy up the prime locations, selling products they have mass-produced and mass-purchased at a lower rate (because of the volume they can guarantee the suppliers they will buy).

    When I can, I do buy vegetables from the market near my house, and meat from the local butcher, but there aren't many places left which don't belong to larger chains.

  • Comment number 99.

    Paul wrote: "Children are allowed into supermarkets. That is what is wrong with them."

    +1

  • Comment number 100.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

 

Page 1 of 4

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.