Thursday, 5 March 2015

Ranking The British Supermarkets, & Supermarkets Around The World





Every week of every year, millions of us shop at our local supermarkets; they are part of our retail landscape and occupy a considerable part of our daily lives and weekly schedules. 

The existence of supermarkets (or grocery stores for those in America) has meant that they have, in most - if not all cases - made food affordable for people and increased the availability and easy accessibility of variety and quality. Yet despite all of this, supermarkets have been the brunt of criticism; some of which is due to snobbery, but in addition, they have been slated for putting local & specialist shops out of business, as well as reports of mistreatment towards suppliers as such. 

Nevertheless, for many families and individuals, the supermarket is the one-way shop to everything; you want fruit and veg? Go to the supermarket. You want poultry, meat and fish? again go to the supermarket. Why visit the butchers, fishmongers, green grocers when you can have it all in one place? This is mainly why they exist: it caters to every individual's need and every area. 

Even with the existence of online shopping these days, you just can't beat the hands-on experience of literately picking up items and sticking it in a basket or trolley. At least you get to see what is and what isn't physically available and make your purchases. Online shopping experience, particularly grocery shopping involves browsing at the images, selecting the ones you want and pay for it online. Convenience -wise it's handy for sure, if you have a busy life.  

But the feeling isn't the same; when I buy clothes, DVDs or electrical online, I'm okay with it, it is when I envision buying groceries and foods, toiletries, beverages etc on Asda.com or wherever, where I'm not so cool with it. I'm old school when it comes to shopping in general, I want the full in-store experience. 

I don't think supermarkets will disappear for good and forever; rather it will constantly change over time in terms of appearance and layout, more state of the art technology will be incorporated (more advanced checkout tills perhaps) & we just have to get used to the adjustments. But I do think that with the rise of budget supermarkets such as Aldi and Lidl, we will not only see a shift in our shopping habits for a lot of people, but rather more types of supermarkets available to us that will appeal to different socio-economic groups. 

I still don't see Aldi and Lidl replacing the likes of Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsburys and Asda to name entirely. It ia just going to offer consumers and customers other alternatives to do our food shop.

For fans of budget supermarkets, they will be more than happy with that. 


What is a supermarket?

A supermarket is a large retail store that sells and offer a variety of groceries, fresh produce, meat, fish, bakery and dairy products, as well as an assortment of non-perishable items such as household and kitchen appliances and items. These are all arranged in aisles on shelves. It is larger in size compared to a market - hence the name 'supermarket', but it is smaller compared to the hypermarket. The hypermarket is virtually a bigger version of the supermarket. 

The basic appeal of the supermarket, is the availability of a wide range of low cost products, that are found on the same shop floor & under one single roof. They also present elaborate promotional item displays to not only help sell the product, but boost interest to customers. 

Grocery retail took off at around the 20th century in the U.S with the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company & other small shops. 

Since the early 1960s to today, supermarkets have helped revolutionise the way people shopped.  

(*Information taken from Wikipedia)

Below, I critique the following British supermarkets, as well as to give them a score out of 10. All views expressed here are my own. 


Supermarkets in Britain


Tesco (United Kingdom) - current leading British supermarket retailer & third largest retailer in the world in terms of profits. Has stores in parts of Asia and Europe including South Korea and China. They pulled out of the US market in 2013. 

The chain suffered embarrassing loses in 2014, after it was revealed they had suspended 4 executives & called in investigators, following news that they had 'inflated' their own profits. 

Score out of 10: 5 

They got too big for their boots that they have paid a massive price by opening too many stores and underestimating its competitors. Rely too much on gimmicks & shoving the brand in people's faces, not forgetting last year's profits scandal that surprised the nation, it is literately turning people off. Their years of dominance might come to an end, thanks to low-end supermarkets, Aldi and Lidl. 

I used to be a fan of Tescos, but nowadays, things have changed. When I am out in central London, I often turn to Tescos just to buy some cakes, biscuits and because I want something cheap and affordable. When there is no Asda, and I am in Oxford Street, Tescos is a last resort. 

Still not keen on them as I was a couple of years ago. 





Sainsburys (United Kingdom) third largest British supermarket chain behind Tesco and Asda. It was in its heyday during the 1980s, but by the mid -1990s, Tesco and Asda overtook Sainsburys and claimed 1st and 2nd place, thus, demoting Sainsburys to 3rd. I find some of their prices a bit over-the-top and a rip-off. 

Score out of 10:  6


(Photo by Newscast David Devins)

Asda (United Kingdom) - British- based, American owned chain. In 1999, Asda became a subsidiary of American owned retail company, Wal-Mart. 10 years later, Wal-Mart sold Asda to Leeds based investment subsidiary, Corinth as part of a group restructuring. In spite of this, Asda remained under Wal-mart ownership, as Corinth is a subsidiary of Wal-Mart. Their marketing promotions are centered around low prices for its products. 

As of 2009, Asda had a market share of 17.5% behind Tesco. 

Score out of 10: 8 

Asda is my favourite supermarket after I moved to North West London over 10 years ago. Reason being is price - price is important to me when shopping in a supermarket, and if you can find great deals that save you lots of money, then fab. I also like the huge range of products and items and they are well priced too. 

Shame there aren't as many Asda supermarkets as Tescos; because if there were, Tesco would no longer be the leading supermarket chain in Britain. But then again, perhaps less is better, rather than have more and more stores and further diluting their brand. 



Morrisons (United Kingdom) - founded by William Morrison - hence the name Morrisons - stores were primarily located in the North of England, up until 2004 when they took over Safeway. The company's presence then increased significantly in Southern England and Scotland, thus-forth opening up more stores. 

Competes alongside Tescos, Asda and Sainsburys. It is all right, but not much to write home about. Feels more like it is trying to be a Safeway, rather than the other 3 rival supermarkets.

Score out of 10 : 6



Lidl (Germany) - global discount supermarket chain and main competitor of Aldi. Since opening in 1973 in its native country, Lidl established itself in over 20 European countries. It has a no-frills approach to supermarket shopping by displaying products in their open boxes, packages & allowing customers to take them directly out of them. Because of the low prices in store, staff is kept to a minimal to save money. Lidl are planning to operate in the U.S by opening 100 new stores in 2018. 

Score out of 10: 5

Lidl and Aldi are drumming up a lot of support from shoppers, as well as media hype the past 2 years with its TV and print ads. I tried Lidl one time to see what all the fuss was about and whether or not I'd like it. 

All I can say is this German style of supermarket shopping will not appeal to everyone; it took some getting used to, it just didn't do it for me personally. It can get too cramped where there are so many people inside. It doesn't have the wide range of (quality) groceries available that other supermarkets such as Asda, Tesco and Sainsburys stock. I struggled to get my head around this place. Quantities are low - that is a huge deciding factor, but that is what you come to expect from a no-frills discount supermarket. 

I was going through the fruit and veg section and noticed there were lots of moldy oranges and rotten bananas on sale. So I didn't buy them. 

When you go into a supermarket, you go in there with the intention of buying something you are looking for. In most cases, nothing in that store catches my attention; so much so that, I gave up and exit the store. Regardless of how much I have in my pocket, I couldn't do an proper shop in there, because it doesn't have everything I need. 

Price is a thing to consider when shopping, especially in a supermarket.... but you shouldn't discount variety, range, choice and quantity either. Lidl and Aldi in many respects get no brownie points for that. 




Aldi (Germany) - the leading worldwide discount supermarket chain with over 500 stores in the UK. Combined Aldi stores around the world currently total over 9,000. Aldi practices that are uncommon in other Western supermarkets include turn styles, forcing customers to exit stores & charging them for using their plastic bags. 

The store and aisle layout of items is identical to Lidl. It is the same as the ones found in one pound retail shops, such as Poundland, Poundstretcher. 

Aldi won supermarket of the year in the UK twice in 2012 and 2013. I prefer Aldi over Lidl out of the 2, but I still prefer Asda by a long stretch. 


Score out of 10: see Lidl


The rest...

Waitrose - very high-end products, unless you are in the middle-high income earning bracket, then you can afford to shop in there.

Iceland - sells frozen food, most of which is pre-packaged, ready made microwavable meals and junk food such as burgers, chips, in addition to frozen vegetables. Not a huge fan of Iceland to be honest.



Supermarkets around the world



Carrefour - French hypermarket. I was in Carrefour whilst I was in Brazil a few years ago and was pretty impressed with the range, stock and price of its products. 




Citysuper - high end supermarket, similar to UK's Waitrose based in Hong Kong. Caters towards the middle-classes. 




Coles (Australia) - founded in 1914 in victoria, there are 741 stores across Australia.  




Coop - largest supermarket chain in Italy 





Daiei (Japan) - one of the largest supermarkets in Japan





Extra (Brazil) - Major hypermarket and supermarket; as of 2005, Extra has 76 stores 




Hipermercados Jumbo (Chile) - hypermarket 




Kroger (US) - founded by Bernhard Kroger in 1883 in Cincinnati Ohio, it is regarded as the largest American supermarket chain & second largest retail chain in the country behind Wal-Mart. 




Lianhua Supermarket (China) - first opening in Shanghai in 1991, as of 2009, it is one of over 3,000 supermarkets. 





Lotte Mart (South Korea) - Hypermarket that sells groceries, toys, clothing and other goods.





ParknShop - one of 2 large supermarket chains in Hong Kong, the other being Wellcome 





Safeway (US) - If you are British and over 25, you would have heard of a supermarket called Safeway. There were stores throughout parts of the UK, then a couple of years later, they all vanished. What most people didn't know was that Safeway was and is a U.S supermarket chain. It is one of the oldest supermarkets in the world. 




Save-On Foods (Canada)





Simply Market - French supermarket formed in 2005 






Supertarget - US hypermarket 






Walmart (US) - multinational corporation that owns British chain, Asda. Like Asda, the store offers low prices on its products. Founded in 1962 by Sam Walton, it has over 11,000 stores in 27 countries. Walmart is currently the largest retailer in the world. 




Wellcome - Hong Kong based outlet and one of the 2 largest supermarket chains in the country. It is also the country's longest running supermarket, founded in 1945. Offers no-frills items at low prices. 

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