Blog: “You pays your money and you takes your choice”

Catherine Sleep | 26 August 2004

Or so they say. But how much choice do you feel YOU have in where you shop?

If you’re anything like me, you’ll feel short-changed. I have just one supermarket in walking distance, and it’s a small-format outlet in the town centre at that. Within twenty minutes’ driving distance, I have access to two larger supermarkets, although one of these is just a larger version of the town centre store. And this is despite the fact that I live in a town with over 100,000 inhabitants.

It doesn’t feel like a lot of choice. But what bugs me more is the lack of small food shops. We have one independent fruit and veg shop which is reasonably good value and does a roaring trade, a couple of bakers and a butcher. But the last fishmonger shut up shop several years ago. There are a couple of struggling delicatessens catering to the gourmet with plenty of cash to splurge and a taste in sun dried organic exotica, but few people can afford to buy much of their weekly shopping there.

So although many people are far worse off, I don’t feel I have a great deal of choice. This is replicated in towns up and down the UK and it’s getting worse. Check out the open-access feature hyperlinked below and do give me your feedback.

Perhaps I'm just too demanding...

Retail consolidation limiting consumer choice


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