Nick Gill Food shopping is a nothing experience. When we asked what people liked most about shopping, the spontaneous response from most people was "nothing". When asked what they disliked, almost as many said "nothing". * This indifference is perhaps hardly surprising, since the bulk of food shopping is perceived as replenishment and the idea of restocking the kitchen cupboard doesn't exactly send the heart racing. When we try to turn food shopping into entertainment, we often see a fall in revenue and sales per square foot. But rather than giving in, we should turn away from measuring sales per square foot as one of the absolute criteria. Albert Heijn's store of the future in Haarlem in The Netherlands found that sales dropped for more than a year after it opened. But perseverance paid off. Sales have now picked up and, more importantly, customer satisfaction is recording increasingly higher levels. Too often we would stop such an experiment after only a few weeks and write it off as a failure because we're not prepared to sacrifice short-term profit for longer-term strategic benefits. The combination of overcapacity and short-termism gives us a bland high street. I watched a recent television report where an independent expert predicted that two of the top six food retailers in the UK would not exist under their present names by 2005. While the sentiment might be right, the timescales are too conservative. I expect this to happen within a year. There is really nothing to chose between the leading supermarket groups. All have tried to embrace ideas of moving away from purely measuring revenue, but very few have had the courage to follow through. Retail as theatre is a very dull play. It's time to forgo product selection and choice for a more uplifting experience. {{NEWS }}