It’s been 4 years since the first release of Retail Points (previously Open Supermarkets) and hasn’t it been an exciting time in the world of grocery. The ‘big 4’ have slowed down openings and have had to enthuse the market in other ways such as new store formats and partnerships, which seem to be central to the future of retail while the discounters are growing their market share.
There have been numerous trials of shop-in-shops in the hopes of driving footfall and extending visit times; Sainsburys and Argos (Sainsburys acquired Home Retail Group in 2016), Tesco with Sports Direct and Arcadia, Asda & Decathlon with some more successful than others. Unforeseen mergers have arisen; Tesco (Britain’s biggest retailer) completed its £4bn takeover of Booker (largest wholesaler in the country) in March 2018 and the Sainsburys and Asda mega merger is currently under investigation by the CMA.
In September 2015 Morrisons sold its convenience stores, M Local, which opened in 2011 to Greybull in a deal fronted by Mike Greene and operating as the short lived My Local until July 2016 when the retailer went into administration.
Waitrose & Partners, the ultimate middle-class signifier for a town has had its own problems, not just when being mocked for the student storecupboard essential list it released in September which contained harissa paste, organic cyder vinegar and bouillon powder. Lidl overtook Waitrose in market share of grocery sales earlier in the year, but in August of this year the brand did report a sales growth of 3.8% compared to the same week last year.
Marks and Spencer have focused on their food which accounts for the largest proportion of sales and where there is opportunity for growth. The Simply Food branding which was launched in 2001 has been phased out and rebrand as M&S Foodhall in 2015. Although they continue to open stores in May 2018 they announced over 100 stores will be closed by 2022 in a radical plan to optimise the network.
The discounters, Aldi & Lidl have gone from strength to strength, combined they now account for 13% of UK grocery market. In a Which? survey early this year customers voted Aldi their favourite supermarket, knocking Waitrose from the top spot it had held for 3 years.
Amazon entered the grocery delivery world with Amazon Grocery, Amazon Pantry and Amazon Fresh, Morrisons while still using Ocado for their delivered got involved with this and Amazon deliver their products. Partnerships between food retailers and tech companies are being explored to improve and enhance the retailer experience, this seems to be a clear ambition of brands as a way of setting them apart from their competition – M&S & Microsoft, Carrefour & Google.
Latest fascia to enter the market
Geolytix Retail Points is tracking a new fascia which was announced in February 2018 and launched to the market in September – Jacks; Tesco’s discount store to challenge Aldi & Lidl. Two stores were opened on 19th September and available to the public a day later; one in Chatteris and the other in Immingham – these were both units that Tesco had previously built and never opened. Jacks is a tribute to Tesco’s heritage; named after its founder Jack Cohen and leading the 100-year celebrations of the brand. This format is quintessentially British with 8 out of 10 items being ‘Grown, Reared or Made’ in the UK and a clear emphasis on locally sourced quality produce. The Jacks brand will also be Tesco’s new value brand. It is clear they are ready to take on Aldi & Lidl with their discounted prices and most obvious comparison the middle aisle of revolving non-food items – Jacks has WIGIG (When it’s Gone it’s Gone) but where Jacks differs to its main discounter rivals is in its focus on heritage. 15 Jacks stores are expected to be open within the year, 6 of which are already open within the 2 months since unveiling; Chatteris, Immingham (19th Sept), St Helens , Edge Hill (4th Oct) Middlewich and Rubery (18th Oct).
Retail Points is continuing to track openings and closing of the major supermarkets in the UK. As always please email if you have any amendments to the data. Please continue to download and use the data set and it is greatly appreciated if you reference Geolytix when you do so.