In the survey, conducted online by Harris Interactive, 41% of shoppers said they normally bought most of their back-to-school items from a supermarket, while 38% said they bought them at a high street store. Just 12% bought them from specialist school uniform shops and 7% from a department store.
Asda’s George range emerged the clear winner, with 57% of shoppers saying they thought it offered the best range, while 25% preferred Tesco and just 1% cited Sainsbury, Morrisons or Somerfield.
Price was the overriding priority and the supermarkets were seen to be far cheaper than the high street, with 60% of shoppers saying they offered the best value for money compared with 30% for the high street. Just 3% thought department stores offered the best deal.
Caroline North, senior marketing researcher at Harris Interactive, said: “Supermarkets have really cornered the market. They are able to offer consumers a one-stop-shop and are seen as delivering real value for money.”
>>p30 Dressed for the occasion
Independent subpostmasters have expressed mixed opinions about the Post Office’s plans to broaden its non-food offering. Details of the scheme, in partnership with ISA Retail, were unveiled last week. Non-food lines including books, videos, CDs, DVDs and DVD players will hit all UK post offices by next year. One subpostmaster said it could work well for retailers, while another said products would “need to deliver a fair and equitable return”.
Tesco has kicked off a recruitment drive to strengthen its non-food division. As sales in non-food were growing twice as fast as in food, Tesco now needed extra people across the board, said a spokeswoman. The jobs, focusing on hard lines such as toys and electricals, will be in merchandising, buying, design and technical.
Budgens has surrendered a town centre store in Norfolk after Tesco received the green light to build a new store in the area. Budgens said it would be closing its store in Millers Walk, Fakenham, later this month.
Off-licence chain Wine Cellar is rolling out a Simply Food & Drinks convenience format. The 11 trial stores average 800 sq ft in size and have been converted from former Booze Buster off-licences. Wine Cellar also now operates 26 stores under the Simply Drinks format.
Local politicians in Hertford have welcomed reports that Marks and Spencer is looking to open a Simply Food store there. Reports suggest that M&S is considering a space currently leased by Iceland. A spokeswoman for Iceland said nothing was imminent. Should M&S get hold of the site, it would be in direct competition with Waitrose, which has a store in the town centre.
Budgens backs off
Format on trial
M&S for Hertford?