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Thread: Supermarkets

  1. #1
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    Default Supermarkets

    Do we really get nostalgic about supermarkets in the past because of the low prices back then, the old logos, or probably because some companies no longer exist? I would certainly say the first two in any case.

    Of course the Sainsbury's - Asda merger is very much a hot potato at the moment, (especially if you live in an area which has a branch of each store like I do), but what about the old days when the stores were more independent from each other, and allowed to have their own identity? I even wrote to both supermarkets (as well as the Competition and Markets Authority) recently as a result of that as I assumed that it would affect my local shopping area.

    Tesco is marking 100 years since Jack Cohen founded his London market stall and coined his baby with the initials of his tea supplier T E Stockwell, along with the first two letters of his surname. I am an expecting an online delivery from them on Good Friday - I have a Clubcard in my wallet, and even members of my family work for them, but I have always thought of Tesco as general synonym for "supermarket" when I was growing up. And now Tesco is getting even bigger with more stores than any other supermarket company, and others opening up all over the place like a British McDonald's - I personally don't mind if I need to do food shopping in which most of us need to in order to stay alive.

    The Tesco logo seen in early 1980s newspaper advertisements with the white "tick" in a circle logo and "Today's Tesco" were incorporated as a semi-official logo in print - the stores were prominently red (in a very 1980s design). Various items still had a half penny at the end of its price, and Kellogg's Corn Flakes were around 60p. Heinz Baked Beans were still a few pence more than the Tesco Value brand was in around 1996. And then in the 1990s the supermarket chain went "ironic" with its Clubcard, its Value range, and employing Prunella Scales and Jane Horrocks as mother and daughter in their adverts, Every Little Helps. I prefer their 1988 slogan of "Changing the way Britain shops" - so optimistic. And of course, Delamare was the Florence and Fred brand of the 1970s - that was where most of the family's Christmas decorations came from, if they didn't came from Woolworths.

    The Asda logo until around April 1986 used to look a little bit like the Access Credit Card (crossed legs-alike) logo, and indeed shopping there customers really did deserve a pat on the back pocket (especially in the 1981 adverts if they were wearing "Shakin' Stevens" jeans). I often joke in a "Viz Top Tips" sense that buying your clothes from George and changing your first name by deed pool would afford you clothing with personalised nametags - so much for Florence and Fred then - I personally need not do that of course. And then we had the green block ASDA logo, and had Julie Walters and Victoria Wood in the adverts, shopping in the middle of a field. "She was dressed as a cheese and tomato sandwich, apparently", and "she couldn't do the conga in that swimming gala", to quote the late Vicky Wood. One trip and you're laughing indeed. And then they focused on housewives, single mothers and listing to Fairground Attraction's Perfect while putting the Nescafe away in the kitchen cupboard, and the Birds Eye beef burgers in the freezer. It 'Asda be Asda. Better than Sharon Osbourne or the chanting kids like in 2006 for that year's World Cup.

    Sainsbury's long before a certain Naked Chef used to do their advertising, the supermarket chain vouched that "good food costs less", which doesn't mean that they sell bad food either. I was never really a fan of Sainsbury's when I was younger, but they are "another supermarket", and are more common than your actual Waitrose or Marks and Spencer - it tried to be M&S but it couldn't quite make it. I shop there from time to time by virtue of the fact that they are local, and the Sainsbury's Local is even more local. John Cleese's adverts in the late 1990s really did invite me to shop there for Christmas 1998, but a lot of advertising can be seen as bribery in many ways.

    My parents always used the local Co-op store at the bottom of the hill several times a week (always a magnet for "Mars Bar" shoplifters and Carling Black Label-swigging youths outside the store in the evenings). It's nice that they have reverted back to the 1970s and 1980s logo, even if it was without its turquoise blue square. The Co-op used to be just one step above Happy Shopper, Peacock or the corner shop when getting your branded ingredients for one's Home Economics lesson (it had to be Birds' Angel Delight to make that Crunch Flan, and not Co-op's own name brand butterscotch), and of course it used to be the local butt of jokes when pensioners used to get their weekly groceries, Open All Hours-style, mostly cat food and two other items. And the Co-op checkout operators used to look more mature than in other supermarkets as well. But we really (almost) missed when it closed, mostly because there were more staff inside than customers.

    As Morrisons seemed to only have branches in the north for many decades, they seem to be relative newcomers to the supermarket circuit. Still, I do like their stuff and often shopped there, even though the nearest branch is a few miles away. It's a pity that they didn't have many branches in the Midlands back in the 1980s. A pity that Safeway disappeared as a result of Morrisons' takeover, which meant that even Hannah Gordon could no longer shop there anymore.

    I don't know really what to make about Aldi or Lidl as I am loyal to the brands that I expect to see when I set foot inside a supermarket. When one buys in bulk everything in the same place, one doesn't recognise the difference of whether Fairy Liquid is 10p cheaper at Tesco than in Sainsbury's. Even Spar seems to have a low profile in recent years in Great Britain - somewhere where one could get a loaf of bread for tomorrow's sandwiches ten minutes before they closed.

    Lest we forget the supermarkets of the past such as Gateway, (later Somerfield), and even Fine Fare. Oh, and Lo Cost as well. William (sorry, Wm) Low was before my time, and so was Presto, just about - they were the supermarket equivalents of Rumbelows or Cavendish Woodhouse.

    Anyone got other memories of old supermarkets, slogans, logos and that sort of thing?
    I am now in my 40s (just in case anyone asks).

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Supermarkets

    Though it was not a supermarket, I have fond memories of visiting Woolworth. The toy section was fantastic. I use to get my stationery from there too.
    The supermarket we visited every week was kwik save.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Supermarkets

    Bejam's became Iceland.

    Are Londis and Spar still around?

    I remember there being ads for Super VG.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Supermarkets

    Spar is still around, even if it is low-key in Great Britain. I suppose that it will be like C&A (and the European Union) - going strong on the continent but almost diappeared in Britain.

    Haven't seen a Londis in a long while, but I am sure that they are still going. VG always seem to have stores in villages a la Budgens, hence the fact that I hardly seen them in Nottingham City territory.
    I am now in my 40s (just in case anyone asks).

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Supermarkets

    Quote Originally Posted by Moonraker View Post
    Though it was not a supermarket, I have fond memories of visiting Woolworth. The toy section was fantastic. I use to get my stationery from there too.
    The supermarket we visited every week was kwik save.
    Didn't Woolworths used to sell food just like a supermarket many decades ago? I am sure that I have seen adverts in late 1960s and 1970s newspapers advertising things like dog food and the like.
    I am now in my 40s (just in case anyone asks).

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Supermarkets

    I know Woolworth were selling foods at a later stage, but I cannot recall seeing it in the 70s or 80s.

    Londis is still around. We have one in our town. It is the same size as the Tesco Express or Sainsbury local. So, they are likely to do well.
    There was a massive Morrisons in Streatham, south west London; but they ended up closing within a few years.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Supermarkets

    Woolworths had the Woolco superstores from the late 1960s to the 1980s.

    They were a bit ahead of their time, normally being built on the edge of a big town & having a mixture of groceries, the fancier goods they only normally stocked in their city centre department store, & the usual products they sold. Some had tyre changing bays, & the one at Newtownards had a petrol station, probably to get people to drive out from Belfast for a shop.

    In the 1980s they sold the stores off to Asda as part for restructuring.

    http://woolworthsmuseum.co.uk/1960s-outoftown.htm
    The Trickster On The Roof

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Supermarkets

    When I lived in York, there were a few Jacksons. Are they still around, and in any other locations?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Supermarkets

    Quote Originally Posted by Moonraker View Post
    I know Woolworth were selling foods at a later stage, but I cannot recall seeing it in the 70s or 80s.

    Londis is still around. We have one in our town. It is the same size as the Tesco Express or Sainsbury local. So, they are likely to do well.
    There was a massive Morrisons in Streatham, south west London; but they ended up closing within a few years.
    I was staying in the Blackpool Pontins in 2005 (now closed, probably due to Health and Safety Reasons, and I can understand with regards to the chalet that I actually stayed in), and there was a Londis store on site, where visitors could get their snacks and tins of Marvel in lieu of bottles of milk. I almost had a feeling that Spar or Nisa might have rebranded them?

    Looking at old adverts from the 1960s and 1970s, I was amazed that Boots used to sell cat food, probably giving the "Puss in Boots" name a double meaning, I assume. They probably sold other food items as a result rather than what we have these days such as the Shapers' "lunch deal" of sea salt crisps and sandwiches - and a bottle of Tropicana to wash it down with.
    I am now in my 40s (just in case anyone asks).

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Supermarkets

    Quote Originally Posted by Clare View Post
    Bejam's became Iceland.
    And they were probably wishing they hadn't considering that some people in the country of Iceland have objected to the supermarket using that name in recent years.
    I am now in my 40s (just in case anyone asks).

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