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Where to go shopping…

Where to go shopping?

Shopping. A chore for some and a pleasure for others, but where are we going to be doing our shopping in 10 years’ time…?

On his recently broadcast ‘Robert Peston Goes Shopping’, the correspondent concluded with the recent ‘revolution’ in how we shop, from shopping the high street in the 1950s to the (on-going) impact of the 2008 financial crash and rise of online shopping.

So what does this mean for the future of shopping… well it seems there are two camps, with converging themes but diverging locations.

High Street Shopping

Are we really going to go full circle and all shop our high streets, traipsing up and down, into the butchers, bakers and grocers to pick up our weekly provisions?  Some certainly hope so.

We’ve had the Portas Review, with the aim of providing a framework for helping to save our high streets, as well as an increasing awareness of the values and benefits that shopping locally brings with it.

With an approach like this, we know that we are supporting our local high street and local economy.  As listed at benefits may include retention of and investment within the local community, safeguarding local jobs, providing good value produce with lesser environmental impact (compared to driving to your nearest out-of-town shopping centre), and valued customer service.

Furthermore, for food specifically, high street shoppers may have more trust in the quality of the food (particularly in the wake of the horsemeat scandal) and, assuming your nearest high street is local to you, provides a convenient way of shopping as and when needed, with the potential to minimise food waste.

And there’s the moral stance too « Why give your hard-earned money to a supermarket with no ethics? » as tweeted recently by Carshalton Mums.

Oh, yes, the supermarkets, so what’s their vision for the future?

Supermarket Strategies

Well, not to miss out on the local shopping experience, we’re continuing to see increasing numbers of ‘local’ format stores opening to serve the high street grocery market.

While at the other end of scale, a more recent strategy from Tesco is their new destination store in Watford…. But how different, other than in location, is this from the high street experience?

The new store is billed as a ‘shopping and leisure destination’ and includes within it food concepts such as Giraffe, Harris + Hoole, Euphorium Bakery and The Bakery Project, it offers a pharmacy, opticians, health shop nutri-centre, a nail bar and beauty treatments, Click & Collect, an F&F concession (with a boutique look and feel), and a community space that customers can use free of charge for events such as yoga, baby gym and cookery classes… Essentially a potentially idealistic high street all wrapped up inside the familiar Tesco branding.

And of course, not forgetting within the food offerings specifically, a continual push by supermarkets to promote the local sourcing of their food.  This has been highlighted most recently with Tesco’s ‘Switch to Local’ campaign in Northern Ireland, claiming to support local firms, to secure jobs, and ensure the spending stays in the local economy.

So which is the most accurate vision of the future?

Will the large all-encompassing store (high streets of new) take over, or will our genuine high street regain past glory?

While convenience to shoppers, as always, will play a major part in the outcome, it feels like the moral/ethical stance is key for the high streets to get behind and the ‘easiest’ way to differentiate and create persuasion to purchase.  However, whether this will be sufficient in today’s busy lifestyles (vs 24/7 supermarket availability) is another question.

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