UK shop timelines, numbers of stores (excluding Tesco)

 

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Aldi

http://www.aldi.co.uk/

4/1990, Aldi’s first UK store opened, in Birmingham.

1992, Aldi had over 1,000 stores in the UK, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Austria, and the USA.

1994, Aldi opened its first store in Scotland, in Kilmarnock.

2006.  Aldi bought 20 former Kwik Save stores from Somerfield.

2008, Aldi had 59 stores in Ireland.

2009, Aldi opened its 1,000th store in the USA (in Connecticut)

 

Aldi, like Lidl, has moved upmarket since the 2007 recession began, a move designed to capture the middle-class grocery spend. Its product range has expanded from a Spartan 800 to an average 1,350 lines per store, though this is still well below the 30,000 lines at a large Tesco. Verdict estimated that 18.6% of Aldi’s customers in 2013 were from the AB social classes (middle class), as against 12.9% in 2012.

 

Aldi – UK stores


 

Year

Aldi stores in UK

April 1990

1

October 1990

10

March 1991

16

December 1991

37

1993

63

1995

70

1998

195

2000

236

2005

289

2009

450

2013

500

 


Argyll - see Safeway.

 

Asda

www.asda.co.uk

Asda (Associated Dairies) was originally a northern England supermarket, in the industrial cities, and only entered the South in the 1970s. The company traces its origin back to Hindell’s Dairies, formed in the 1920s by a group of Yorkshire farmers.

1965 Hindells, now Associated Dairies, merged with the Queen’s supermarket group to form Asda Stores.  

1966 Asda took over the US operated GEM store premises, in Nottingham and Leeds.

1968, Asda considered selling cars, but abandoned the idea.

1970, Asda began moving to southern England, opening a store in Portsmouth.  

It also moved into Wales, opening a store in Newport.

1991, Asda bought 61 stores from Gateway (see Somerfield).

1999, Wal Mart took over Asda’s 229 UK stores for £6.72 billion.  Asda abandoned its store-card in favour of lower prices.

2001 Asda began selling pet and travel insurance.

5/2002, Asda is to enter the ‘convenience-store’ format with a 1,700 square metre store at Walthamstow, east London

7/2004, Asda’s share of the UK clothing market (‘George’ brand, named after George Davis) rose to 8.9% over the second quarter of 2004.  George Davis, after starting ‘George’ in the early 1990s, left Asda to launch the Per Una brand at Marks and Spencer.  ‘George’ clothes are now sold in 240 of Asda’s 266 UK stores, and also in a further 4 stand-alone stores.  

10/2005, Asda entered Northern Ireland, buying former Safeway stores there from Morrison.

3/2006, Asda opened its first ‘Essentials’ format store in a suburb of Northampton, Stocking almost exclusively Asda’s own-brand merchandise, these stores are part of Asda’s strategy to regain position as the UK’s cheapest supermarket grocer.  Modelled on a French discount chain, Leaderprice, the Essential store in  Northampton had only 5 full time staff, plus a further 23 part time, and at 800 square metres is less than a tenth of the size of a regular Asda supermarket, though still larger than, say, many Tesco Express stores. The product range of an ‘Essential’ store will be around 2,400 items, less than a tenth of what a regular Asda supermarket stocks.

1/2007 Asda closed its pioneer ‘Essentials’ store in Northampton, just 10 months after it opened.  Sales were below expectations.  The 800 sq metre stores were supposed to be the equivalent of the Tesco ‘Express’ chain, but modelled on the lines of German discount stores like Edeka or Tengelmann.  The other ‘Essentials’ store in Pontefract, Yorkshire, remained open.

7/2008, Asda overtook Sainsbury to gain second place in UK market share.  The credit crunch was persuading many UK shoppers to seek cheaper supermarkets.

2009 Asda began selling Asian-style clothing (for women).

2010, Asda announced a deal to buy Netto’s 194 UK stores for £778 million, from the owner, Dansk Supermarkets.  With Netto, Asda will have 568 stores in the UK.  Asda was ordered to sell off 47 of these new stores by the Office of Fair Trading, due to monopoly concerns.  The last of the 147 Netto stores retained by Asda was converted in November 2011.

2013, Asda announced a deal with London Underground to have collection points at six London Underground stations for commuters to pick up Internet-ordered groceries after 4pm, if ordered by 12 noon.

Asda – UK stores


 

Year

Number of stores

Average store size (1,000 sq metres)

1970

30

 

1980

70

 

1982

65

 

1985

100

 

1991

204

 

1992

207

4.05

1993

198

4.04

1994

202

4.03

1995

204

4.05

1996

207

4.1

1997

214

4.1

1998

218

4.2

1999

229

 

2000

236

 

2001

245

 

2002

259,

4.2

2003

265

 

2004

266

 

2005

283

 

2006

317

 

2007

336

 

2008

329

 

2009

356

 

2010

375

 

 

P JONES, ‘Retail innovation and diffusion – the spread of Asda stores’, AREA’, Vol.13, No.3, pp.197-201, 1983.

 

Co-op

http://www.co-operative.coop/

Set up in 1844 by 28 men from Rochdale, Lancashire, as the Rochdale Equitable Pioneers society, to make food available to working people at a reasonable price. Any profits were returned to members as a dividend, or ‘divi’.  By 1863 there were 400 Co-op societies, boasting 100,000 members, mostly located in the industrial areas of northern England and Scotland.  Although independent, the many Co-operative societies could pool information and work together to gain greater buying power.  The Co-op became an international movement in the 1870s, setting up operations in New York in 1876, in Rouen (France) in 1879, in Copenhagen in 1881, and in Hamburg in 1884[1]. 

The Co-op, initially a grocery trader, later aimed to offer a much wider range of consumer needs, branching out into funeral services, finance, furnishings and much else – much as Tesco was to do later on.

2002, Co-op bought GTS Supermarkets, a small Yorkshire-based chain.  Co-op also bought the Alldays chain of convenience stores.

7/2008 The Co-op took over Somerfield.  This move doubled the Co-op’s market share to almost 8% and made it the UK’s 5th largest supermarket chain after the Big Four (Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury, and Morrison).  The UK (2008) had around 85% of its grocery retailing in the hands of just 5 retailers.  On local competition grounds, the Co-op had to sell 38 former Somerfield stores; these were bought in 2008 by Morrison.

 

Store numbers

1938, 24,000

1993, 450

1994, 446

1995, 524

1996, 509

1997, 490

2001, 1,297

2004, 1,746 (1250 are ‘convenience stores’).

2005, 2,312

2007, 2,488

2008, 3.123 (including the former Somerfield stores)

 

Gateway

1989 The Isosceles Group paid £2.3 billion for Gateway in 1989.

10/1990, Gateway had 732 stores.

1993, bought by Somerfield. See SOMERFIELD for more details

 

Iceland

www.iceland.co.uk, www.thebigfoodgroup.co.uk,

Iceland is part of The Big Food Group, which is based at:-

Second Avenue, Deeside Industrial Park, Deeside, Clwyd, CH5 2NW, 01844 830100

Iceland was established in 1970.

Year

Number of stores

Average store size (square metres)

Employees

1970

1st store

 

 

1973

2nd store opened

 

 

1975

18

 

 

1988

275 inc Bejam stores

 

 

1993

658

461

 

1994

752

478

 

1995

750

476

 

1996

766

477

 

1997

766

478

 

1998

770

478

 

1999

760

478

 

2000

760

478

 

2001

770

487

 

2002

764

 

 

2003

754

 

 

2004

748

 

 

2005

730

 

 

2006

695

 

 

2008

707

 

18,014

2009

708

 

19,406

2010

776

 

21,464

 

1970 Founders Malcolm Walker and Peter Hinchcliffe opened their first frozen food store, in Oswestry, north Wales.  Prior to this the pair had been selling strawberries from the roadside, effectively moonlighting from jobs they found unfulfilling at Marks and Spencer’s.  M & S found this out and dismissed them.

1973 Iceland opened its second store at Rhyl, also in north Wales.

1975 Iceland grew rapidly as more UK homes acquired freezers.  By 1975 Iceland had 18 stores in north Wales.

1977 Iceland opened its first supermarket-type outlet, in the Arndale Centre, Manchester.

1978 Iceland moved to its present head office at Deeside, north Wales.

1982 Iceland introduced its own-label frozen food lines.

1983 Iceland bought the failing 18-store frozen food chain, St Catherines, and revived the stores.

1988 Iceland took over its larger rival, Bejam

9/1997, Iceland began its Home Delivery service.

1998 Iceland banned GM (genetically modified) ingredients from its own-label foods.  At this time public distrust of so-called ‘Frankenstein Foods’ was growing rapidly.

1993 Iceland frozen food went on sale in Littlewoods stores.

1999 Iceland banned artificial colours and flavours from its own label products

2000, Iceland rebranded itself ‘Iceland.co.uk’.

5/2000, Iceland bought the Cash and carry group, Booker, the wholesaler for 100,000 independent retailers.

2001 Iceland entered a difficult period; intense competition from the UK’s large supermarkets was hitting Iceland sales and profits.  See 2005.

2002 Iceland was renamed as The Big Food Group.  High Street stores retained the Iceland fascia.

6/2004, sales at Iceland’s 748 stores fell by 1.9% over the past 12 months, due to intense price competition from Tesco, Asda/Wal Mart, and Morrison/Safeway. Iceland was turning its mainly frozen food stores into more of a convenience store format, selling vegetables, alcohol, and tobacco; by 8/6/04, 100 shops had been altered and 150 will be changed during the rest of 2004.

2005 After 4 years of sharply falling sales and profits at Iceland, the Baugur Group took over Iceland.  The product range was rationalised and overheads cut; this restored the company’s fortunes.

1/2006, Iceland sold some stores to Marks and Spencer, reducing its store portfolio from 703 to 675.

2007 Iceland saw strong growth in its home delivery service.  The store sponsored the TV show ‘I’m a celebrity, get me out of here’.

2010, Iceland dropped Kerry Katona as its celebrity sponsor, due to a drugs scandal; the supermarkets started using ‘real mums’ to sponsor its brand instead.

 

Kwik Save

After 2/1998 see Somerfield

Founded as Value Foods in 1958 in Wales by Albert Gubay. Gubay gained some notoriety amongst other retailers by infringing local laws on shop opening, for example by staying open till 9pm on Fridays (for the legality of this, see the 1950 Shops Act, under ‘8/2000’, Tesco), and by his aggressive price-cutting. Some manufacturers refused to supply him. In 1964 Gubay visited the USA and decided to try a strategy of selling a limited range at very low prices. This produced more sales than the existing Gubay supermarkets and by 1970 Kwik save Discount had 24 stores. By 1980 Kwik Save had over 200 stores. Kwik Save grew strongly due to its competitive prices until the early 1990s when Asda’s low prices policy, as well as the entry of the discounters Aldi, Lidl, and Netto, curbed this growth.

1989, Kwik Save bought the Victor Value chain of discount grocery stores from Bejam/Iceland.

Year

Number of stores

1989

630

1990

600

1991

670

1993

815

1994

840

1996

980

1997

900

1998

900

2000

808

2002

710

7/1998, on merger with Somerfield, Kwik Save had 900 stores. This number fell in subsequent years. For later developments see Somerfield.

6 July 2007 Kwik Save formally went into receivership.  The administrators KPMG have sold 56 of the last 146 remaining stores to FreshXpress, salvaging 600 jobs (source, Eurofood, 11/7/07, p.21).

 

The brand has now been resurrected, from 2012, with a different fascia, as a large convenience-store format.

 

Lidl

http://www.lidl.co.uk/cps/rde/xchg/lidl_uk/hs.xsl/index.htm

1930s, Lidl and Schwarz Grocery Wholesale founded in Germany.

1973 First Lidl store opened, in Germany.

1994. Lidl entered the UK in November

2006, Lidl plans to double its current portfolio of 77 Scottish stores by 2016 at a cost of £200 million.  Its competitor Aldi is also expanding in Scotland at this time, see Aldi above. 22/6/2006, Lidl opened a store in Orkney.

9/2007, Lidl had 7,271 stores in Europe.

 

Like Aldi, Lidl has moved upmarket since the 2007 recession began, to capture more of the middle-class grocery spend.

 

Year

No. Of UK stores

1994

40

1998

126

2000

203

2002

345

2003

330

2009

520

2011

525

 

Londis

http://www.londis.co.uk/

A federation of small shopkeepers, formed in 1959 by the independent retailers of the London District of the council of the National Grocer’s Federation (Guardian II, 19/1/04, pp.2-3, Independent Retail News, 9/1/04, pp.16-17). Londis shopkeepers originally paid £50 for their share.

 

Towards the end of 2003, Musgrave, Ireland’s largest convenience retailer, and the owner of Budgens stores in the UK, bid £40 million to take over Londis. Londis’ 2,000 small shopkeepers stood to receive £10,000 each to sell to Musgrave the £50 share they had bought when they joined Londis. The rub was that the other £20 million of this £40 million would be shared between the four executive directors of the Londis group, and in addition they would receive a further £7 million between them as compensation for the termination of their contracts. Shopkeepers were tempted by the £10,0000 for £50 deal but were uneasy at the apparent end of the mutuality aspect of Londis, with the size of the payout to the directors. The Big Food Group, owner of Iceland stores, also made a £40million bid for Londis but promised a more equitable share out - £20,000 each for the shopkeepers and just £600,000 apiece for the directors. Some small shops are barely profitable but other Londis members can make a profit of up to £100,000 a year, albeit with long hours. On the other hand, Tesco’s purchase of the T & S convenience store chain in 1/2003 signalled more fierce competition for the small shopkeeper. The shopkeeper members of Londis therefore face a dilemma, and more bids may emerge. Somerfield and the Co-op may also bid.

1/2004, Londis had 1,933 - 2,232 member shops (reported numbers vary).

22/6/2004, Londis shopkeepers voted to accept the Musgrave takeover of their chain (The Guardian, 23/6/04, p.25). By a margin of 1,583 to 43, at a vote in Birmingham, Musgrave’s £60m offer was accepted, subject to a High Court hearing in July, Londis shopkeepers will each receive £31,000 in August. Londis shops will gain greater economies of scale.

 

Marks and Spencer

http://www.marksandspencer.com/

In 1884 a Russian born refugee from Poland called Michael Marks took on a trestle table stall at the Kirkgate Market in Leeds. His slogan was ‘don’t ask the price, it’s a penny’. In 1894, by which time he had a shop in Manchester, Mr Marks entered a partnership with a Tom Spencer, former cashier of a wholesale company. By 1901 Marks and Spencer had 11 shops and 24 market stalls.  The company continued to expand, buying the London Penny Bazaar Company in 1914. In 1920 M & S adopted the then-revolutionary practice of buying direct from manufacturers, a technique used today by the large supermarkets to keep costs and prices down.  The original corporate ideal was to price goods so the working class could afford them and then to search for products that could be sold at a profit under this condition.

 

Marks and Spencer’s flagship store in Marble Arch, London, opened in 1930, and in the 1970s M & S opened stores in Paris and Brussels.

 

11/2004, Marks and Spencer began to sell off its ‘Simply Food’ convenience stores which were mainly located on High Streets and at railway stations and airports. Waitrose may be one of the buyers. There were 87 such stores, with plans for a total of 100, and the format was launched in 2001. However rents were high, at up to £45 a square foot, and the average customer spend was just £4. Prices were up to 4% more than in larger M & S stores.. However Tesco (Metro) and Sainsbury (Local) have made their small-store convenience format work, due partly to buying sites in bulk, so getting better ret deals. But the main reason for their better success and M & S may be the larger buying power of the big food supermarket retailers.

4/2006, Marks and Spencer had 13 stores in Eire.

Year

Number of stores

1901

11 + 24 stalls

1993

301

1994

301

1995

368

1996

288

1997

286

2001

303

2002

312

2003

331

2004

375

2005

397

2006

408

 

Morrisons

http://www.morrisons.co.uk/, www.morereasons.co.uk

Hillmore \House, Thornton Road, Bradford, West Yorkshire, BD8 9AX

Morrisons began as an egg and butter merchant in Bradford in 1899 run by Mr William Morrison.

Year

Number of stores

1993

65

1994

73

1995

77

1996

81

1997

85

1998

86

2000

101

2001

110

2002

113

2003

119 average store size 3,300 sq m.

2004

552 (inc Safeway stores)

2005

498

2006

373

2008

375

2010

425

2012

455; 130,000 staff

 

1950, Ken Morrison, then an 18-year-old doing National Service in Germany, was contacted by his mother to ask if he wanted to take over the family-run market stall in Bradford as his father was too ill to continue manning it.  Ken decided, after a few days on the job, that he would continue with this enterprise[2]. 

1961, Morrisons opened its first supermarket, in Bradford, Yorkshire.  Ken Morrison had noticed that supermarkets, with their new innovation of self-service, were taking customers from market stalls like his.  Ken found a disused cinema in Thornton Road, Bradford; with a combination of boldness, luck, and ingenuity he soon got not one but two stores in Bradford going.

1998, Morrisons opened its first supermarket in the south of England, at Erith, Kent.

2004 Morrisons completed the takeover of Safeway, with its 479 stores.  Morrisons was ordered by the government regulator to sell 52 to avoid local monopolies.  200 ex-Safeway stores were re-fascia-ed as Morrisons.  The Safeway acquisition gave Morrisons a presence on the south of the UK

18/10/2004 Morrisons completed the sale of 117 ex-Safeway ‘Compact’ stores to Somerfield, for £260 million. Morrisons regarded these stores as insufficiently profitable; they did not fit with the existing Morrisons ‘large-store’ format, and unlike the other major grocery retailers, Morrisons did not wish to diversify into smaller-format stores (information here kindly supplied by Chris Nash).

For further details, see under ‘Somerfield’.

2008, Morrisons bought 38 stores from the Co-op for £223.1 million, increasing its store estate by around 10%.  These stores went on sale after the Co-op took over Somerfield, and had to be sold on competition grounds.  This may be a risky move for Morrisons as the new stores are smaller than the average portfolio, and will be absorbed into the Morrison group during a recession.

2009, Morrisons goes upmarket, selling higher quality foods (see Waitrose 2009).

2011, Morrisons announced it would begin selling clothes.  Three of its 420 stores already have Peacocks (clothes) concessions, and others sell school uniforms, but only on a seasonal basis.

2011, Morrisons to follow Tesco and Sainsbury into the convenience-store format.  Three such stores, under the ‘M’ fascia, will be opened in the Yorkshire / Manchester area

2013 Morrisons bought 49 of the former Blockbuster video rental stores (Blockbuster went bust at the end of 2012); these premises are to be converted into convenience store formats, known as M-Local. Before this acquisition, Morrisons had just 12 M-Local stores in the UK.

 

Netto

http://www.netto.co.uk/internet/nettog/menu/main.nsf

UK head office, Leeds

Netto is part of the Dansk Group, itself part of the Maersk Group, which also runs Maersk Shipping.  Therefore Netto is able to import foods to its UK supermarkets at reduced rates.  The Dansk Group of supermarkets was formed in Denmark in 1977 as a response to the entry of the German group Aldi into Denmark.

4/1981 Netto opened its first store, in Copenhagen

12/1990, first Netto store in the UK opened, in Leeds.

1995 Netto opened its first store in the London area.  Prior to this the group’s presence in the UK was mainly in the northern industrial cities of Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle on Tyne, and Sheffield,

4/2006, Netto bought 19 Kwik Save stores from Somerfield

7/2008, Netto opened its 186th UK store, in Barnsley, Yorkshire

2010 Asda announced a deal to buy Netto’s 193 UK stores for £778 million. The Netto fascia vanished from the UK

2014 The Netto fascia returned to the UK as Sainsbury bought the brand name from its parent company Dansk (Asda bought the retail premises but not the brand). 5 Netto stores are to open in the north of England by end 2014, and a further 10 are planned.

 

Netto store numbers (in UK)

Year

Number of stores

1990

1

1995

50

1998

117

2000

120

2001

126

2002

130

2006

145

2007

179

2008

196

2009

214

 

Safeway

www.safeway.co.uk  (this link now takes you to Morrisons)

1915, Safeway began in the USA when Mr M B Skaggs opened his first store, with 60 square metres of sales space, in Idaho. By offering better credit terms than his competitors, he was able to expand to 428 outlets by 1928.

1931, After a merger with Sam Seelig stores of California, Mr Skaggs was now chief executive of 3,527 stores, now known as the Safeway Company.

1962, 20 September, Safeway arrived in the UK, when it took over Prideaux and Gardner. In April 1962 Prideaux and Gardner had opened what was then ‘Europe’s largest supermarket’, a 2,000 square metre outlet at Wimbledon, London.

1965, first Safeway branch in Scotland opened, at Muirend, Glasgow.

1975, Safeway began selling petrol.

1987, first Safeway branch in Wales opened, at Colwyn Bay. Safeway now had 132 UK stores. It now became part of the Argyll Group, which bought Safeway for £681 million. Argyll operated a variety of store fascias; most of these were now rebranded as Safeway.

3/1990, Argyll had 298 Safeway stores.

1990s, Safeway decided its focus was to be on attracting families with children, especially young children. This included crèches, baby changing facilities discounts for new parents, the Kid’s Own clothing range, sportswear ranges such as Adidas, Reebock, and Tommy Hilfiger, toys, and child-oriented ready meals.  Outside its stores, Safeway had parent and child parking spaces and some stores had play areas for children.

3/1991, Argyll had 312 Safeway stores, and 214 Presto stores, a total of 526 stores – the Presto stores being mainly in Scotland.

10/1992, Argyll had 326 Safeway stores.

4/1993, Argyll had 348 Safeway Stores.

1995, Argyll had 378 Safeway stores, and 169 Presto stores, a total of 547 stores.

10/1995 Safeway launched its ABC loyalty card.

1996, Argyll had 370 Safeway stores and 109 Presto stores, a total of 479 stores.

1997, Argyll  had 400 Safeway stores and 90 Presto stores, a total of 490 stores.

1998, Argyll had 451 Safeway stores and 20 Presto stores, a total of 471 UK stores. It also had 15 stores in Ireland. Safeway considered a merger with Asda but this was halted after leaks to the press.

1999. There were now no Presto stores.

5/2000, Safeway abandoned its ABC storecard. Sainsbury tried to capitalise on this by offering to redeem ABC points at its stores. By 2000 Safeway had issued 9 million ABC cards, of which 6 million were still in regular use.

10/2002. Safeway launched a Halal range of foods, including lamb and poultry. Halal beef was added in 10/2003.

2003. A protracted takeover battle for Safeway began on 9/1/2003 when Morrison launched its bid. Philip Green also launched a bid, as did the other major supermarket companies, Asda, Sainsbury, and Tesco. These bids, especially Tesco’s, were very unlikely to succeed, and indeed were prohibited after an investigation by the Competition Commission – Tesco with over 25% market share of groceries already was never going to be allowed to take over Safeway. However some of these bids were probably ‘spoiling bids’, bids designed to force up the price of Safeway to the eventual winner, reducing the winner’s profits. However even if Morrison took Safeway over, there were 53 Safeway stores that would have to be sold off because Morrison already had a store near these Safeway branches, and retaining them would have given Morrison too much of a local monopoly. These stores will possibly be sold off to another major supermarket chain, without another branch nearby, although they could be taken by a non-food retailer, for example the electrical retailers Halfords or Comet.

2004. Morrison completed the takeover of Safeway. For events after this, see Morrison.

Safeway, store numbers

Year

Number of (UK) stores

1993

359

1994

374

1995

358

1996

370

1997

400-

1999

436 (+18 in Ireland)

2000

470

2001

525

2002

527

2003

536

2004

536

2005

0

 

Sainsbury

Stamford House, Stamford Street, London SE1 9LL.

www.j-sainsbury.co.uk

(see below for Sainsbury store numbers)

1869, first shop opened, a grocers at 173 Drury Lane, central London, founded by John James and Mary Anne Sainsbury. John Sainsbury was then aged 25.  Drury Lane was then a very poor part of London.  Sainsbury’s emphasis on good quality at reasonable prices led to success, and their second shop opened in 1873 at Queen’s Crescent, Kentish Town, also in London.

1914-18 As a third of Sainsbury’s male staff went to war (Germany, not Tesco, was the enemy then), the company began recruiting women.

1928 John James Sainsbury died aged 84.  His last words are said to have been, ‘Keep the shops well lit’.

1931, Sainsbury opened its 200th store, at Westbourne Grove, London.  This store closed in 1962.

1950, Sainsbury’s Croydon branch was converted to self-service. This, or the Tesco St Albans branch, also converted to self service in 1950, was the UK’s first self service supermarket.

1960s Sainsbury expanded out of the South East into the Midlands and the West Country.

1971 Sainsbury opened its first in-store delicatessen counter

1974 Sainsbury opened its first out-of-town store, near Cambridge.

1976, Sainsbury opened its first supermarket in Wales, at Cwmbran.

1987, 19 June, Sainsbury bought the Shaw chain of supermarkets in north eastern USA. See 2004.

1992, Sainsbury opened its first supermarket in Scotland, at Dalmely, near Glasgow. 1994, Sainsbury opened its first supermarket in France, at Calais.

1995, Safeway issued its ABC storecard.

1996, Sainsbury opened its first supermarket in Northern Ireland, at Ballymena.

1997, Sainsbury launched its own bank.

1998, Sainsbury opened the first of its Local stores, in Hammersmith, London

1998, Sainsbury opened two of its stores on Christmas Day to an outcry from both the shopworkers union and from devout Christians. The stores were at Headcorn, Kent, and at Hammersmith, west London (The Times, 26/12/1998, p.1).

1998, Sainsbury formed a link with BP to sell groceries on BP garage forecourts.

2001 Sainsbury had to pull out of its holding in ‘Edge’ stores, Egypt. The continuing Intifada (Palestinian uprising in Israel) resulted in Egyptians seeing Sainsbury as too pro Israeli and Western.

2002, Sainsbury launched its ‘Oriental’ range of Asian-ethnic foods. In the UK, Chinese dishes are now the third largest ethnic food market, after Indian and Italian (Marketing, 7/2/02, p.24).

2002 Sainsbury began selling motor insurance.

2004 Sainsbury sold the Shaw chain of supermarkets in the USA, which it had bought in 1987. Sainsbury was now on the losing end of a price war started by Asda and Tesco in response to the takeover of Safeway by Morrison this year. Sainsbury needed to focus on its UK strategy, as it had always been pricier than the major grocers but also was threatened by the expansion by Waitrose, another upmarket grocer who was expanding with the acquisition of 19 of the 53 former Safeway stores Morrison had to sell off because of local monopoly conditions after the Safeway takeover.

2004 Sainsbury bought the Bell chain of 54 stores in the north east of England, for around £20 million.  Also in 2004 Sainsbury bought the Adminstore chain, 45 convenience stores in London.

2004 Sainsbury bought 14 of the 53 stores Morrison had to sell after its acquisition of Safeway. This was financed from some of the £1.3 billion proceeds of the sale of the Shaw chain in the USA (Daily Express 18/5/04, p.85).

2004, Sainsbury bought the Hull-based Jackson chain of 114 convenience stores in Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, and the north Midlands.

2006, Sainsbury is planning an expansion in Scotland, and has reportedly looked at 20 possible new store sites north of the Border.

7/2008, Sainsbury slipped into 3rd place behind Asda in terms of UK market share.  The Credit Crunch was persuading many UK shoppers to seek cheaper supermarkets.

2011, Sainsbury began opening High Street cafes, under the ‘Fresh Kitchen’ fascia.  Sainsbury has expanded its own-label ‘By Sainsbury’ range to some 6,000 lines.  Sainsbury opened its 400th Local store, in Woolwich, London.

 

Sainsbury - UK supermarket stores

 


Year

No. of stores

Floor space (million sq metres)

Average store size (sq metres)

1869

1

 

 

1873

2

 

 

1882

4

 

 

1900

48

 

 

1907

100

 

 

1920

129

 

 

1928

182

 

 

1931

200

 

 

1939

255

 

 

1969

89

 

 

1990

291

 

 

1991

299

 

 

1992

313

 

 

1993

328

 

 

1994

341

 

 

1995

355

 

 

1996

363

 

 

1997

378

 

 

1998

391

 

 

1999

405

 

 

2000

423

 

 

2001

436

1.37

3,140

2002

447

1.43

3,200

2003

498

1.52

3,050

2004

583

1.55

2,650

2005

728

1.56

2,140

2006

752

1.61

2,140

2007

823

1.67

2,030

2008

794

1.55

1,952

2009

872 (inc. 335 Local stores)

1.60

1,835

2010

937

1.78

1,900

2011

970

1.92

1,980

2013

1,132 (inc. 541 Local stores)

 

 


 

Somerfield

http://www.co-operative.coop/food/

The Somerfield fascia and associated names have a rather complicated history.

Somerfield began as a small Bristol grocery store opened by a Mr J H Mills in 1875.  After a slow expansion through to 1950, the company, now with 14 outlets, was bought by Tyndall, a Bristol financier and the stores renamed Gateway in 1950.  This name was chosen because Bristol was the gateway to the West Country.

1977 Gateway bought by Linfood Holdings; 100 more stores renamed as Gateway.  Linfood also owned Frank Dee supermarkets; Frank Dee was founded  from a wholesaler business which itself split from J H Mills.

1983 all 70 Frank Dee supermarkets rebranded as Gateway.  Linfood also renamed itself the Dee Corporation. Then the Dee Corporation became the Gateway Corporation.

1987, The Gateway company had also bought retailers such as Keymarkets, Lennons, International Stores, Fine Fare, and Carrefour Hypermarkets.

1989 the Isosceles Corporation bought the Gateway Corporation. Corporate debts were heavy; 61 larger Gateway stores were sold to Asda (1991) and 42 smaller stores were sold to Kwik Save. Grocery trading was now done under the Food Giant fascia, but was unprofitable until the stores were rebranded (again) as Somerfield in 1994.

1993, Gateway was bought by Somerfield.  

In April 1994 Gateway stores were re-fascia-ed as Somerfield.

1998, February, merger between Somerfield and Kwik Save. This created a chain of 1,431 UK stores, 872 of them being Kwik Save at the merger of 2/1998, and 450 being Somerfield. There were also 26 Food Giant stores, owned by Somerfield, and 83 other fascia owned by Somerfield. Total sales were £6 billion. All Kwik Save stores were to be re-fascia-ed as Somerfield. However the merger did not go smoothly.  The price-conscious shoppers of Kwik-Save deserted the chain as its stores were upgraded to the Somerfield format. Bargain seeking shoppers had the choice of the discounters, the Co-op, or even Morrison or Asda, and in 1999 Somerfield announced that some 350 Kwik save stores were to be sold off. However there were few takers for these stores. 70 Kwik Saves had now been converted to the Somerfield fascia. This left some 400 Kwik Save stores yet to be changed. By July 2000 110 Kwik Save stores had been re-fascia-ed as Somerfield, 40 Kwik save stores had been sold, and 750 remained as Kwik Save fascias.

End 1998, 330 of Somerfield’s stores to sell electrical goods (Marketing Week, 3/12/98, p.6), see 7/2007b. This was an attempt to emulate the larger supermarket’s strategy, given the larger supermarket’s success in forcing down food prices and margins there.

2/2004 Somerfield bought Aberness, for £20million. Aberness comprised 36 convenience stores, five franchise stores, and a further 130 stores under the ‘Mace’ or ‘Morning, Noon, and Night’ fascias, plus a distribution depot (Convenience Store, p.4, 26/3/04).

5/2004, Somerfield announced that the Kwik Save fascia was to cease to exist in Scotland. Scotland had 51 Kwik Save stores at the start of 2004; of these 29 will be re-facia-ed as Somerfield, and the remainder closed, along with a Kwik Save distribution centre at East Kilbride. 350 jobs will be lost and a further 150 workers relocated.

18/10/2004, Somerfield completed the purchase of 114 former Safeway small format stores from Morrison (see also under ‘Morrison’). The stores will be re-fascia-ed as Somerfield (probably not as Kwik Save, given the desire by Somerfield to re-fascia or dispose of that brand) by end February 2005; the first re-fascia-ings began on 30/10/04, these stores closing until 4/11/04 (information here kindly supplied by Chris Nash).

9/2005, Somerfield has 1,308 stores, including 111 purchased from Morrison.

2/2006, Somerfield is to sell off its loss-making Kwik-Save fascia to a new company, Back To The Future (Daily Mail, 28/2/06, p.65), for £200 million. 1,000 of 7,000 Kwik Save jobs will go. Somerfield will keep 102 of the 384 Kwik Save stores, BTTF will take 171, 19 will be sold to Netto and a ‘similar number’ to Aldi, Iceland, and Lidl. The remaining 33 Kwik Save stores will go to property investors.

In Spring 2007 the Kwik Save crisis came to a head.  79 Kwik Save stores, a third of the previous total of 226, closed, leaving just 147 operating; there were 700 job losses.  In the mid-1990s there were nearly 1,000 Kwik Save outlets.  It was reported that Arla Foods had stopped delivering milk to Kwik Save because of payment difficulties.  The market share of Kwik Save alone 9without Somerfield) had slumped from 1.2% in 2006 to just 0.2% in 2007.  A major cause of the fall of Kwik Save was the success of the discounters Aldi, Lidl, and Netto.

7/2007a, The death of Kwik Save.  The Kwik Save fascia is to vanish from UK High Streets. Almost two thirds of the remaining Kwik Save stores are to close, future usage uncertain.  56 stores, a tiny fraction of the original number of nearly a thousand, are to remain, re-branded as ‘Fresh Express’.  See ‘Fresh Express’.

7/2007b, Somerfield repositions itself as a High Street grocer, going head to head with the Co-op, and will cease to sell loss making lines such as electrical goods (The Grocer, 28/7/2007, p.5). Cards, CDs, and DVDs will be the only non-food goods in Somerfield stores.  Store numbers are reduced, and sales area falls more steeply as non-High Street larger stores (competing with Tesco et al) are closed.  The average size of a Somerfield store is now 700 square metres.

 

Somerfield store numbers

 

Year

Store numbers (total)*

Somerfield

Kwik Save

1950

14

 

 

1996

343

 

 

1997

432

 

 

1998

1,431

450

872

1999

1,422

528

830

2000

1,371

570

755

2001

1,319

585

734

2002

1,306

 

 

2003

1,269

 

 

2004

1,250

600

650

2005

1,370

 

 

2006

1,424

1,125

 

2007

 

955

In Liquidation

1/2008

 

900

 

7/2008

 

880

 

*’Total’ includes fascias other than Somerfield and Kwik Save, see text above

 

7/2008, Somerfield was taken over by the Co-op

2011- The Somerfield fascia is to disappear from the UK as all stores are re-fascia-ed as Co-op stores.

 

Spar

www.spar.co.uk

Year

Number of affiliated stores

1992

2,100

1995

2,400

1999

2,700

2000

2,674

2004

2,784

2005

2,724

2008

2,557

 

For Tesco – see Supermarket Timelines - Tesco

 

Waitrose

Doncastle Road, Southern Industrial Area, Bracknell, Berkshire, RG12 8YA, www.waitrose.com

1904 First grocery store set up in Acton, west London, by Wallace Wyndham Waite, Arthur Rose, and David Taylor.

1908, The Wait-Rose company was officially formed, with £5,000 of capital.

 

Year

Number of stores

1920

20

1993

103

1998

117

2000

120

2001

136

2002

138

2003

141

2004

145

2005

173

2006

174

2007

183

2008

190

2009

228 (inc. 5 convenience stores)

2010

241 (39 more planned for 2011)

2011

243

 

1937 Waitrose was bought by the John Lewis Partnership.  This is why Waitrose today is a co-operative, owned by its staff, rather than a limited company.  The founder of John Lewis, a Mr John Spedan Lewis, was troubled by the wealth gap between rich and poor that emerged during the Great Depression of the 1930s and decided that his department store should be a co-operative to avoid the ‘perversion of capitalism’ that created such inequalities.

1951 First self service Waitrose store, at Southend, Essex.

1955 First Waitrose supermarket opened, in south London.

.3/2004, Waitrose bought 19 of the 53 superstores Morrison was forced to sell as a condition by the UK government of being allowed to take over Safeway. This considerable extended Waitrose’s geographical scope in Britain. From having been a southern-based chain, with no branch further north than Newark, Nottinghamshire, Waitrose acquired stores in the following towns (list from The Guardian, 26/3/04, p.17).  (Northern venues in bold).  Sandbach, Abergevenny, Harrogate, Hitchin, Swaffham, Barry, Otley, Dartford, Lincoln, Sheffield-Eccleshall Road, Wolverhampton, Willerby, Rushden, Fulham, Towcester, Newport-Shropshire, Worthing, Southport, and Farnham.  The new stores averaged 3,000 square metres, much larger than Waitrose’s 2003 average store size of 1,900 square metres.

2008, Waitrose made its first move outside the UK; it unveiled plans to open over 20 stores in the United Arab Emirates by 2010, with the first store up and running in 4/2008.  Waitrose also unveiled plans to open a chain of convenience stores, in competition with Tesco Express, Sainsbury Local, or M&S Simply Food.  The first of these stores will be in Buckingham, Brackley (Northants), and St Neots (Cambridge).  Waitrose is aiming at consumers who would like to use a Waitrose but live too far away from its supermarkets.

2008, Waitrose bought London stores in Chiswick, Clapham, Edgware Road, and Islington from the struggling Woolworths chain.

3/2009, Waitrose introduced its Essentials range, because some consumer saw Waitrose as a luxury / premium goods store, but too pricey to visit to buy a full week’s groceries (see Morrison 2009). 

Waitrose Essential range sales, as % of all Waitrose sales

6/2009, 13.0%

3/2010, 17.0%

2010, Waitrose was seeking to open 300 small convenience-type local stores across the UK by 2010.

 

Wal-Mart

http://www.walmart.com/

See also Asda.  This section relates to Wal Mart in the UK only.  For Wal-Mart worldwide, see Non-UK retailing, ‘USA’.

1962 Sam Walton and his brother James opened the first Wal-Mart store in Rogers, Arkansas.  This town had a population of only 6,000; Wal Mart could out-compete many of the local shops, and the small size of the town sheltered Wal Mart from another supermarket competitor. 

1997, Wal Mart entered Germany, buying 21 Werkauf supermarkets.  In 1998, Wal art bought 74 Interspar stores in Germany.

1999 Wal-Mart took over the UK chain Asda with its 229 stores.  By end 1999, Wal-Mart had 282 stores in the UK

2006, In the UK, Wal-Mart’s subsidiary, Asda, has ‘come under pressure from a resurgent Sainsbury’ (Guardian, ibid), and has failed to capture market share from the (locally) larger Tesco. On the positive side, the World Cup boosted sales of food and football-related merchandise such as clothing;

 

Whole Foods

http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/

1980, Whole Foods began as one store in Austin, Texas.

2004, Whole Foods entered the UK; it bought the UK chain ‘Fresh and Wild’ for £21 million. The ‘Whole Foods’ fascia did not appear in the UK until 2007 when the re-fascia-ing of some ‘Fresh and Wild’ stores began.  The first ‘Whole Foods’ fascia store was, unsurprisingly, in the affluent west London suburb of High Street Kensington.  The 80,000 square foot store is on the site of the former Barkers department store.  Whole Foods plans (2007) a limited number of stores in the UK; only around 40, in areas with wealthy graduates.

See also Non-UK retailing, under USA.

 

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[1] A Seth et al, ,The Grocers,, Kogan Page, London, 1999, p.14

[2] A Seth et al, ,The Grocers,, Kogan Page, London, 1999, p.150