While I welcome a new supermarket here at the Elephant, I have to confess at being rather underwhelmed by the new Sainsbury's.
I knew it would be more expensive than, say, Tesco or Morrisons, so the slightly higher prices didn't come as a surprise.
What disappointed me is the small range of food on offer: even though it is a large store, there is less choice than what can be found at E&C Tesco, and far, far less than what Morrisons on Walworth Road lays out for their customers.
The 'hot food counter' is basically a small cabinet that offers a few sandwiches and hot pockets. Far less than Tesco where you can buy whole roast chickens and the like.
Morrisons' hot food counter is a proper Deli with a big range.
Sainsbury basically offers less than what one would expect to find at any other seller or ready to eat hot foods.
The dry pasta range is very small: spaghetti, linguine, fusilli, rigatoni, tagliatelle, and lasagne.
The bread is of good quality, but again the range is very small.
Maybe they need time to adjust to the customers they will cater for. I for one never buy hot food but would welcome a nice range of meat, fruits and vegs.. I have noticed Morrison is much worse since their recent revamp, less fruits and vegs (maybe because of the market opposite).
I like the Tesco in Tooley St, I sometimes go there at the weekend as it is so empty it is a delight to shop there. The Tesco in Kennington is also nice (they have posher products) but hard to get to on the bus. I hate the Old Kent Road one.
I am longing for the return of the short lived farmer's market in E&C. The plaza is the perfect spot for it...
I've just got back from the new E&C Sainsburys and, like Jules, am entirely underwhelmed.
Having been told it would be a "supermarket" at consultation stage, and given the large and increasing number of people living nearby, I was expecting something like the Sainsburys in Clapham or Pimlico or, at least, Angel. Instead, it's a large 'local' store, of a similar size to the one opposite Holborn Underground Station.
The range is terrible.
There are just five refrigerator units of fresh meats. The only beef roasting joints are Silverside and Topside. The only offal I could find was lamb and chicken livers - no kidneys, no hearts, nothing. The only game was two lonely venison steaks.
For beer, there are 11 bottled ales, all the same national beers that you can get everywhere. There's more of a choice of ciders.
Wine starts at less than a fiver, and the range is massively concentrated around six to seven pounds.
There's no deli counter, no butchers' counter. Plenty of space is given over to electrical and other durable household goods, though. When I went to pay, there were about eight customers queueing at the two(!) large checkouts and a dozen unused self-service tills.
On this evidence, the people of Elephant and Castle have no need to worry about gentrification.
Unless there's going to be a proper sized supermarket in the rebuilt shopping centre (and when would that be available?), Southwark Council should be ashamed of itself for not insisting on a bigger shop. The people of the Elephant and Castle deserve better.
It doesn't get better when you leave the shop. The entire width of the pavement between the shop and the 53/453 bus stop's shelter is given over to a cycle lane. There is, literally, no space for pedestrians to walk towards the tube station or other bus stops.
Rambling Phil, I genuinely cant tell if you are being sarcastic or not with your reply. Surely you cant expect a zone 1 'supermarket' to stock a full range of offal and varying cuts of roasting joint. I think it will definitely take time to carve out a niche and find out what its customers really want. Take, for example, the Tesco Metro on Tooley street that evolved over time to be really quite decent (after flirting with various dubious arrangements and gimmicks). Though not a fan of Sainsbury's generally, fingers crossed it ends up serving its community the products it wants, once they work out what they are.
I don't expect a supermarket to have a full range of offal, but a bit more than just liver would be useful. It's just an example of the lack of range that Sainsburys thinks we should be fobbed off with.
I was expecting a supermarket from which you could cater for a dinner party or have a reasonable choice of products for a weekly shop without having to buy the same things every week. I was expecting a supermarket with a similar range to the Sainsburys in Pimlico or Angel, or the Waitrose in the Brunswick Centre (all in Zone 1).
I don't see why the people of E&C shouldn't have similar facilities to those in other, similarly central, locations.
ps I don't know the Tesco Metro on Tooley Street, but the ones at my end of SE1 focus overwhelmingly on snack food and food that goes 'ping'. It's really difficult to actually cook from them. Is that providing the community the products it wants, or is it pandering to passers by?
I was happy with what was available. More than usual range of gluten free products. I had a sense that they were finding their feet and would imagine that over time the offerings will change a wee bit.
Went last Saturday and left disappointed too. I only bought one overcooked loaf of bread (selection was dire). They only had very few products. Tesco should not worry for the time being. The Sainsbury in Green Park where I do most of my weekly shopping is much better. Is it the demographics, they think E&C is poorer so we only get **** industrial processed products because some assume poorer people don't cook and just eat fast food crap? 20,000 new people are expected to move in all the new buildings in the area. That's a small town. And that's what we get? A small upgrade from a convenience store...