New Tesco Express, Kennington Park Road

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Monday 4 April 2011 10.01pm
Yesterday evening I noticed the new banners at Kennington Station advertising the new Tesco Express on Kennington Park Road. So I went to have a look only to be turned away more than 10 minutes before their advertised closing time because the staff 'wanted to go home'. The security guard wouldn't budge, and nor would he fetch the duty manager for me to talk to.

This seems a pretty basic thing to get right to me, and if last night is typical, they've found a very easy way to alienate their local customer base very quickly.
Tuesday 5 April 2011 1.09am
It's nine years ago that I was looking around the Kennington station area to live, and remember it striking me not only that retail chains were absent but how poor the local offerings were.

So unless others have sprung up unnoticed (apart from the big Tesco way down Kennington Lane) I guess the new outlet will be popular - just as two recently opened Expresses have been where I've ended up, north-west of the Elephant.

The trouble with these smallest branches of the country's biggest supermarket chain though is they seem subject to little central control.

Fresh bread and pastries are for instance binned a good half-hour before closing. Non-perishable stock is also routinely run down to empty before new deliveries arrive. Try to get served in the last 10-15 minutes and there's a pathologically long queue with only ever one till still open.

I could go on.... But have to conclude that Tesco is risking its brand by opening these little places without keeping a grip on standards. I'm even finding myself going back now and again to the Costcutter, whose loss of local monopoly I celebrated on another thread here last month.

For a few things they're cheaper even, as the Express formula seems to involve whacking 10-20pc on the price of a lot of regular purchases. I also don't want the competition to close, as only having Tesco in the neighbourhood could end up being worse.

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