Shoppers using supermarket convenience stores could potentially end up spending around £320 more a year on groceries, according to Which?
The consumer group’s research indicated that Sainsbury’s Local and Tesco Express customers could be paying up to around £320 and £280 respectively more a year than those who shop at larger stores for the same items.
Which? said convenience stores have been a lifeline for many people during the coronavirus pandemic, but they may not be the most economical way for consumers to shop, as prices can be higher.
More than half (51%) of Which? members who used convenience stores said in a survey of more than 1,000 people that cost is one of their biggest bugbears.
Sainsbury’s told Which? that product price is influenced by a variety of factors including special offers, while Tesco said that rents, rates and operating costs are higher in built-up areas.
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 premiumNatalie Hitchins, Which?
To find out how much more customers could be spending at supermarket convenience stores compared with their larger stores, Which? analysed the average weekly price of 48 own-label and branded groceries for five-month period from June to October 2020, across Sainsbury’s Local and Tesco Express.
It compared prices with the cost of the same items at their supermarket counterparts.
Which? found customers could be paying 9.5% more a year (£322) at Sainsbury’s Local than they would at a regular Sainsbury’s supermarket.
On average, the shopping list of 48 items, which included tinned tomatoes and ginger nut biscuits, cost £71.26 a week at Sainsbury’s Local compared with £65.08 at a Sainsbury’s supermarket.
This was a weekly difference of £6.18 – adding up to around £322 a year.
The price of our products is influenced by a range of factors, including promotions, which can vary between Sainsbury's supermarkets and convenience storesSainsbury's statement
Which? also found that Tesco Express customers could be paying 8.4% (£279) more a year compared with a larger Tesco supermarket.
The shopping basket of 48 items would cost £69.12 at Tesco Express compared with £63.75 at a Tesco supermarket – a difference of £5.37 a week and around £279 a year on average.
Which? said that, at Sainsbury’s, the products with the biggest price difference were a 400g can of Napolina chopped tomatoes, which was a third more expensive at Sainsbury’s Local, and a 250g packet of McVitie’s ginger nut biscuits, which was just over a quarter more expensive at a Sainsbury’s Local store compared with a larger supermarket.
Several Tesco own-label products were around a quarter (23%) more expensive in Express stores than in supermarkets, including Tesco 0% fat Greek-style yogurt (500g) and Tesco orange juice with bits, not from concentrate (1 litre).
Our Tesco Express stores are mainly in built-up areas where, unfortunately, rents, rates and the operating costs for these stores are higherTesco statement
But there were cases where products at convenience stores cost the same or less money.
For example, a 500ml bottle of Flash spray with bleach was found by Which? to be the same price (£1) at Sainsbury’s Local, Tesco Express and the supermarkets. McVitie’s digestives were also a penny cheaper on average in the smaller stores.
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.”
Sainsbury’s told Which?: “We’re committed to offering our customers the best possible value. The price of our products is influenced by a range of factors, including promotions, which can vary between Sainsbury’s supermarkets and convenience stores.”
Tesco said: “Our Tesco Express stores are mainly in built-up areas where, unfortunately, rents, rates and the operating costs for these stores are higher.
“The difference in prices of some products reflect these increased costs, but our prices remain competitive as we strive to offer great value to our customers.”