A couple of weeks ago I happened to find myself heading towards my local superstore clutching an unusual shopping list - one comprised exclusively of non-food items. I was after an eclectic mix of stuff as well: a sleeping bag, a torch, plain white T-shirts, a BBQ and a couple of chart CDs were on my list that day.
The very fact that I was confident they would all be sold in a grocery shop says a lot about the way in which supermarket retailers have evolved their offers in the past five years or so. It also shows why traditional high street retailers are right to be worried about the incursions the grocers are making into their territory.
My shopping expedition was unforgettable - for all the wrong reasons, I’m afraid. After a bit of a search, I did find a sleeping bag and a torch (the former being tucked away on the bottom shelf of an aisle with no signage). But the store’s non-food area was in a state of absolute chaos - I can only presume that lots of blokes had visited that weekend in search of BBQs, T-shirts and the same CDs as me, because I couldn’t find them in stock.
Helpful staff aside, I was not impressed by the experience. I had been beguiled by the promise that the store offered a one-stop shop. Well, it didn’t. And I, for one, will not be making the same mistake twice.
Am I alone in thinking like this? No idea. But as our special report on p40 certainly shows, the non-food experience is not always what it should be - particularly when it comes to availability. The challenge for retailers is persuading more shoppers like me that the experience can be unforgettable - for all the right reasons.
The search is now on for the business leader that you think has made the biggest contribution to the grocery industry over the past 12 months.
As you will have read on page 14, we have compiled a shortlist of top retailers and suppliers. These are people who have had a real impact on the industry for all sorts of very different reasons. It is now up to you to decide which of them should be the next holder of The Grocer Cup. Our website and voting lines are now open. Your vote could make all the difference. So make sure you use it!
your vote counts!