Friday 2 October 2009

Tesco Express

In the interest of local research, myself and the Geezer snooped into Deptford High Street's new Tesco Express last night on the way home from the pub. The fact that it's possible to do this is probably one of the positive things about our new arrival. Opening hours are 6am to 11pm - every day including Sunday.

Today, slightly more sober, I did a solo trip to assess the retail experience properly. First things first - it's a small shop with just three aisles at the back, two at the front, and it is trying to cover every base. At the entrance is a long chill cabinet full of sandwiches and cold drinks, flanked by crisps, nuts etc, opposite which is a small stand of newspapers and magazines and a basic selection of toiletries.

The back half of the shop contains everything else, including the obligatory hovering security guard although he did rush to the front when a posse of young men arrived to scour the chill cabinet for their lunch.

The Dame's test was as follows: fresh milk (organic if possible); parmesan or pecorino cheese; a bottle of good fizz (for a gift, I hasten to add, it's not usually on my shopping list!); bin liners for a tall 30L bin; tagliatelle.

A good range of fresh milk (in a proper, WORKING fridge - Housewives Cash & Carry take note!) including organic. Pass. I'm glad to say my commenter the Flying V would have been delighted to also find real cream. Not just single and double, but also extra thick!

I'd been hopeful about the cheese. Surely parmesan is more or less a staple these days? Well it seems it is, but for Tesco Express this only means the pots of 'freshly grated' parmesan. Which translates as 'we'll grate it for you because we can charge you triple the price and it will keep for a couple of weeks then you'll have to come back for more'. I keep a block of parmesan in the fridge for months on end, so shelling out three or four quid at a time for a block might seem a large initial outlay but it does last more or less for ever. Fail on this one. The range of other cheeses available was ok, but could have been better, even in a small shop.

Unsurprisingly it was also a fail on the fizz*, although they did have some basic Cava and Prosecco which I would have bought had it been for me. The wine selection is better than anywhere else on the high street (not particularly difficult) although like everything else, there is not a huge range to choose from.

The shop failed on the bin liners, although likewise I hadn't been too hopeful about this. There were about three different types but not the one I wanted. In general, bin liners are not exactly in short supply on Deptford High Street - they are sold in every other shop - but they are usually the cheap, easily torn type. Tesco's did have stronger, drawstring liners, just not the large ones.

I was very surprised to find that it almost failed on the tagliatelle too - I got the last box off the shelf of a very small dry pasta selection. I guess they want you to buy the overpriced 'fresh' version from the chill cabinet.

On the whole, it was pretty much what I expected. I'm glad that Tesco doesn't follow the Iceland model - although the Iceland store is about twice the size, they probably only stock about the same number of products because they put out hundreds of each item. Tesco had got a good range of products for the size of the shop, but only a few of each on the shelf.

As far as price goes, I didn't do a proper comparison - that's for another day when I have more time. But I did notice that as far as eggs were concerned, the only free range eggs available in sixes were large size and cost £1.64 for half a dozen. Across the road, Wellbeloved Butchers sells half a dozen medium-size free range eggs for £1.40, and in the other direction, Housewives Cash & Carry knocks them out at £1.09 (but check the dates carefully).

I certainly won't be shopping here regularly, but I do appreciate the addition of a better range of cheese, wine and cream to the products available on the high street.

*In fact I noticed a couple of days later that they do sell fizz, but it's behind the checkout with the small range of spirits, and they only have one choice, which was about £30.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is all very good for Tesco...but it has reduced the life expentancy of shops in Deptford. All shoppers now tend to get drawn towards tesco...even though Tesco is a bit more expensive..on lot of items.
Today saturday...I wonder where all the customers have disapeared?
We here are a Family run bussiness and most of our livelyhood depends on selling News,Mags,sweets and drinks....all these Tesco does at the same prices. Speaking to a few other shops, I think Tesco will have a negative effect on shopkeepers who will struggle and will not be able to maintain their service and therefore their shops leading to a spiral going down.
If you see one at Lewisham way..notice the shops next to Tesco...half their shelves are empty or the shelves have been filled by one item just to make it look full.These perticular shops have lost customers to Tesco...and spiraling down.
You the customers will make a difference to lot of Independent family owned bussiness.
Tesco don't and will not charge Electric or Gas...why? because it is not a money making bussiness.where as local shops do this..the basic need for customers in Deptford.
I get reassured that I will still get custom from many of my customers.....and lots have proved that to me. I get customers with tesco bags,but come over and buy Newspapers and mags. THANK YOU