The end of an era for the once-a-week student shop

Sainsbury's will be opening 91 convenience stores within the next year. Pic: Kat Sunnucks

Sainsbury’s will be opening 91 convenience stores within the next year. Pic: Kat Sunnucks

According to the Sainsbury’s 2014 Annual Report, it’s local store sales have increased by 19%. As a result of this, the company will have more convenience stores than supermarkets this year.

Mike Coupe, Sainsbury’s group commercial director, said “Consumers are increasingly

looking to shop little and often, rather than focusing on one weekly shop.”

In New Cross students are part of the new trend. Few of those we spoke to walk an extra five minutes to the larger store in spite of the lower prices. Convenience, it seems trumps price, even for poverty stricken students.

Pic: Kat Sunnucks

Sophia Hinton-Lever, 22 Pic: Kat Sunnucks

Sophia Hinton-Lever, 22, Studying English Literature and Drama at Goldsmiths College said: “I tend to do smaller shops in the more expensive stores, but if I was to do a weekly shop, I would go to cheaper supermarkets, like Aldi.”

She added: “I am a vegetarian and I do support local independent stores. I don’t understand why the smaller Sainbury’s feel its okay to charge more just because a shop is local.”


Lutana Diphan, 23 Pic: Kat Sunnucks

Lutana Diphan, 23, Studying Drama and Theatre Art at Goldsmiths College said:“I tend to go to the local store to buy smaller things such as snacks, just because it’s just across the road from where I normally am everyday. I had forgotten that there was a larger Sainsbury’s down the road.”


Bronwen, 22 Pic: Kat Sunnucks

Bronwen, 22, Studying Anthropology at Goldsmiths College said: “I choose to go to Sainbury’s local, purely for convenience. I would normally buy lunch items, so the price doesn’t necessarily bother me too much. I tend to do buy smaller items, as I don’t really have much time to plan larger shops.”

Global Market Research firm ‘Mintel’s’ finds younger shoppers are leading the move to convenience shopping, due to their strategic locations on street corners and town centres than larger grocery stores. For top-up grocery shopping peaks among 25-34 year olds: nearly half use these stores regularly. Regular usage is lowest among the 55-64 age groups:

Figure 1: Regular usage of convenience stores for top-up shops, February 2014. Pic: Kat Sunnucks

Figure 1: Regular usage of convenience stores for top-up shops, February 2014. Pic: Kat Sunnucks


Robin Maingay,  Pic: Kat Sunnucks

Robin Maingay, 20 Pic: Kat Sunnucks

Robin Maingay, 20, Studying Anthropology and History at Goldsmiths College, said: “The only reason why students go to the local is because it’s directly opposite the library. I try to do a big shop at Lidl every week, but I end up getting a meal deal from Sainbury’s local which is actually quite pricey, but it’s close and convent for when I am hungry and in a rush.

When choosing between local stores the students we spoke to tended to go for the branded store rather than the independents because they assume that Sainbury’s will be cheaper.

Maingay said: “I think independent grocery stores have become very trendy, but at the same time they are quite expensive. For example the Allotment in New Cross looks nice and the food is good quality but too much for students who are on a tight budget.”

However, Jill Jones, 45, Owner of the Allotment Grocery Store, New Cross said: “People assume that we must be more expensive than supermarkets because we are a smaller shop, however having been opened for three years, we have noticed an increase in students dividing their shopping: in in buying their groceries from us, and meat and dairy from supermarkets.”

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