Most shoppers say they would buy clothes from a supermarket. Rod Addy looks at the latest survey

Supermarkets are continuing to turn the screws on high-street clothing retailers such as Next and River Island. The latest HI Europe research reveals that 73% of consumers are prepared to buy clothes from a supermarket. A similar study conducted in January last year put the figure at 60%. This shows that efforts by Asda and Tesco to establish strong clothing offerings such as George and Cherokee are paying off.
The rise in popularity of non-food in supermarkets is evident across the board. The next most popular category is jewellery, with 26% of shoppers quizzed saying they would buy it from a supermarket.
Caroline North, senior researcher at HI Europe, says the findings reflect the popularity of accessorising, demonstrated by the success of chains such as Claire’s Accessories. “Jewellery trails nicely behind clothing ranges because of the ongoing popularity of accessorising. Clothing stores capitalise on it, so why shouldn’t supermarkets?”
But some retailers could be doing more to grasp the opportunities offered by non-food. The research shows 36% of Co-op Group shoppers would buy jewellery from the society’s stores if it were available. And 71% would visit it for clothes. A similar percentage of Iceland shoppers said they would do the same, while more than half of Waitrose shoppers said they would buy clothes from its stores.
Flip the figures on their head, however, and they show there’s still a lot of ground to be covered when it comes to converting even loyal shoppers to popular non-food categories.
Of the top three multiples, 23% of Tesco shoppers said they wouldn’t visit one of its stores to buy clothes. And 16% of Asda shoppers would still not go to an Asda store for clothes, while 28% of Sainsbury shoppers said they wouldn’t buy clothes from its outlets.
But there are many other opportunities in non-food. Some 8% of those surveyed say they would buy cars from multiple grocers. Waitrose and Marks and Spencer are first on shoppers’ lips for such a service.
Few think such retailers should encroach on property sales, although one in 10 would buy a house from Marks and Spencer. Even more think personal loans and credit cards are a good idea.
Sainsbury has the largest group of core shoppers who use it to get a credit card, closely followed by Marks and Spencer. And Marks and Spencer shoppers lead the way in terms of their willingness to go through the high-street chain to arrange personal loans.
Overall, Asda tops the multiples when it comes to
convincing its core shoppers to buy into its non-food ranges. A total of 84% of Asda shoppers would buy clothing from Asda, but only 77% of Tesco shoppers would think of Tesco for clothing. Similarly, 35% of Asda shoppers would buy jewellery from the chain, compared with 26% of Tesco shoppers.
Despite the opportunities, however, a quarter of men and those older than 55 still believe supermarkets should avoid non-food. “There’s a good proportion that non-food is not a goer for,” says North, adding that it shows more could be done to target these camps with better marketing of non-food ranges. The results may reflect male and female shopping habits, she says.
Men are likely to target specialist retailers for specific non-food items and are unlikely to see supermarkets as destination shops for such products. Women, however, are browsers and tend to pick up non-food products as they look for food.
The results show every major grocery retailer could try harder to convince its shoppers to think of them for all non-food purchases.
It’s worth noting that, although 19% of those surveyed believe supermarkets should stick to food, virtually half disagree. Some 45% of all groups polled think non-food offerings make shopping more enjoyable. And 35% of most age groups say the presence of non-food ranges drives them to spend more.
Even 21% of the over-55s reckon their shopping bills go up when they walk into outlets stocking non-food. “That’s a vote of confidence for those not going overboard on non-food,” says North.
She says the multiples still mirror consumer demand by allocating only a minority of floor space to non-food ranges. A total of 40% of men and women polled don’t want multiples to expand their non-food sections.
Nevertheless, it’s clear that supermarkets are rightly tightening their grip on core markets such as clothing and jewellery, piling the pressure on the high street.
Consumer attitudes >>survey reveals shoppers’ ideas about non-food items

Should supermarkets stick to selling groceries and not worry about non-food?
Yes: 19%
Not bothered: 35%

Do supermarkets’ non-food ranges make the shopping experience more enjoyable?
Yes: 45%
Not particularly: 51%
Less enjoyable: 4%:

Do you spend more money in your main supermarket shop because of the non-food ranges on offer?
Yes: 35%
Unsure: 9%

Do you spend more time in the supermarket because of the non-food ranges on offer?
Yes: 36%
Unsure: 7%

Should supermarkets give over more space in store to non-food?
Yes: 18%
Not bothered: 42%

Which of the following non-grocery items/services, if any, would you ever consider buying/using from your main supermarket?

Credit Cards:20%
Personal loans:12%
Personal shopper:6%
Health adviser:5%
Legal services:3%
None of these:22%

Which of the following non-grocery items/services, if any, would you ever consider buying/using from your main supermarket?
Tesco shoppers:
Yes: 77%
No: 23%
Asda shoppers:
Yes: 84%
No: 16%
Sainsbury shoppers:
Yes: 72%
No: 28%
Safeway/Morrisons shoppers:
Yes: 67%
No: 33%
Somerfield shoppers:
Yes: 61%
No: 39%
Kwik Save shoppers:
Yes: 60%
No: 40%
Waitrose shoppers:
Yes: 57%
Co-op shoppers:
Yes: 71%
Marks and Spencer shoppers:
Yes: 52%
No: 48%
Iceland shoppers:
Yes: 71%
No: 29%
Budgens shoppers:
Yes: 0%
No: 100%

Tesco shoppers:
Yes: 26%
No: 74%
Asda shoppers:
Yes: 35%
No: 65%
Sainsbury shoppers:
Yes: 23%
No: 77%
Safeway/Morrisons shoppers
Yes: 27%
No: 73%
Somerfield shoppers:
Yes: 18%
No: 82%
Kwik Save shoppers:
Yes: 13%
No: 87%
Waitrose shoppers:
Yes: 17%
No: 83%
Co-op shoppers:
Yes: 36%
No: 64%
Marks and Spencer shoppers:
Yes: 10%
No: 90%
Iceland shoppers:
Yes: 20%
No: 80%
Budgens shoppers:
Yes: 0%
No: 100%