Tesco, Sainsbury's and now Morrisons have all posted great results for the Christmas period despite the doom and gloom of recession. Aldi, Lidl and Netto have also had a good spree.
What does this mean for high street retail and city centres? Two things may be happening here. On the one hand people are flocking to supermarkets and discount stores in preference to more upmarket high street alternatives and on the other hand people are opting to stay in rather than eat out and so spend more on their groceries.
Given that supermarkets tend to be located out of town (apart from the newer convenience store versions such as Tescos Express and Sainsbury's Local) this could herald a challenge for city centres as people veer away from them in order to save money.
Over the years supermarkets have been given more and more freedom to compete with independent shops in just about every merchandise sector. Even pharmacy and optical retailers have had their very special niches taken from them. Where will it end?
BUSINESS FORUM COMMENT
The abandonment of our city centres is not a new issue but it is raising it's ugly head once again and this time the people who can save the day may be losing their jobs and tightening their belts and so the battle to save our cities could be a lot tougher.
Brighton & Hove City Council has recently launched a Buy Local campaign and is urging people to spend their money in the independent shops that make Brighton unique in order to preserve the city centre and the character upon which our tourism sector depends.
Read related items on:
Retail, pubs, clubs and restaurants