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UK shoppers spending £320 more a year by shopping at smaller supermarkets

Suban Abdulla
·2-min read
Young Asian woman with protective face mask holding shopping basket and using smartphone while grocery shopping in a supermarket
The coronavirus pandemic has meant that many people have relied on their local branches and smaller convenience stores to do their shopping and avoid crowds at larger shops. Photo: Getty

Britons who shop at smaller grocery stores could be spending up to £320 ($438) more a year than people who shop at larger supermarkets.

The coronavirus pandemic has meant that many people have relied on their local branches and smaller convenience stores to do their shopping and avoid crowds at larger shops.

According to Which? research, customers would be paying 9.5% more a year at Sainsbury’s Local than a regular Sainsbury’s (SBRY.L).

The consumer group compared the average weekly price of 48 own-brand label goods over five months at Sainsbury’s Local and Tesco Express compared to the main grocery stores.

It means that on average, the trolley of 48 items would have set shoppers back £71.26 a week compared with £65.08 at Sainsbury’s large stores.

The products with the largest price difference at Sainsbury’s were a 400g can of Napolina chopped tomatoes, which was a third more expensive at Sainsbury’s Local.

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Meanwhile, a 250g packet of McVitie’s ginger nut biscuits, which was just over a quarter pricier at a Sainsbury’s Local store compared to a bigger grocer.

The study also found that Tesco Express customers could be paying 8.4% more a year than those shopping a larger Tesco (TSCO.L) store.

A number of Tesco own-label products were a quarter more expensive in Express stores than in bigger shops. This includes Tesco 0% Fat Greek Style Yogurt (500g) and Tesco Orange Juice With Bits, Not From Concentrate (1 litre), according to Which?

Chart: Which?
Chart: Which?

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A shopping list would cost £69.12 at Tesco Express, on average in contrast to £63.75 at a Tesco supermarket — a £5.37 difference a week and £279 annually.

Natalie Hitchins, head of home products and services at Which?, said: “Convenience stores have been a huge help to many of us during the pandemic. However, our research shows that shoppers who rely solely on supermarket convenience stores, rather than their larger stores for their groceries, are paying a premium.

“Customers will generally get more for their money at larger supermarket stores, but for some products, the price difference may not be significant, so it is always worth checking prices to make sure you are getting the best deal.”

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