Sainsbury’s: On the Go in Pimlico

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We have to be honest, we’ve not noticed anything radical or exciting from Sainsbury’s in terms of formats for a while. So it was with interest that we popped into the newly revamped store in Pimlico being dubbed as a ‘market store’.

From the offset this store impresses and marks a different approach for the retailer. The large glass windows provide a first look at the ‘On the Go’ offering which is cleverly located front and right of the store entrance, allowing customers who want to grab and go the space and option to do so quickly and efficiently without battling trolleys and baskets in the main store.

Once in the ‘On the Go’ section there’s a number of options including fresh sushi, hot food and pizza, the usual sandwiches and also a Crussh concession. The space is open, airy and easy to navigate, offering simple seating and self checkouts to help speed up payment. We visited at 3.30pm on a Thursday and the area was busy, most noticeably with younger customers and after-school kids, which must be a new demographic for the retailer.

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If you don’t want a pizza made from scratch, there’s a hot unit selling slices of ready made pizza, pasties and ready to go microwave meals. Admittedly, we didn’t see anyone buying made to order pizzas but it adds theatre – the neon signage helping to attract customers in from the street.

The main store (located behind ‘On the Go’) has also been given a revamp with a couple of stand out elements. The alcohol section is pretty impressive with ceiling-high, crate-style graphics, simple wooden fixtures and navigation reminiscent of wine and beer labels. There is also one end dedicated to ‘no and low’ alcohol proving that Sainsbury’s is listening to the trend developing amongst younger generations.

Sainsbury’s is also doing a great job (and always has done in our opinion) of promoting its ‘Free From’ range with a dedicated aisle that taps into customers’ increasing desire for a restricted diet of one kind or another.

The bakery section is also impressive adding a layer of personality with graphics positioned above the counter offering ‘gluten free loaves’ and ‘celebration cakes’ in a handwritten chalkboard style.

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The rest of the store feels slick and shiny, but it’s the ‘On the Go’ offering that stands out the most. It’ll be interesting to see if it gets replicated or evolved in other stores. But for now, top marks Sainsbury’s – we like!

Author

Sean Dwyer

London Bridge, our new home

After more than a decade in Putney it was time for Whippet to move to the big smoke. Now in bustling London Bridge, the first thing we did (naturally) was check out the neighbours. And the thing we noticed immediately was just how creative the local retailers and eateries around us are in attracting customers.

Our closest neighbour is a tropical cocktail bar tucked away in an old Victorian basement. Nine Lives’ cleverly positioned neon sign at the end of the road uses no words in its logo, but instead nine neon tubes create that familiar mark we know as being used to count lives in a game. This feeds the curiosity of passing office workers, and draws them in to steps leading down to its hidden delights below. Very clever.

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Elsewhere, blink and you’ll miss the Black Swan Yards coffee hatch placed in the wall as you walk by on Bermondsey Street. Neatly positioned within an electric bike shop this creative ‘hole in the wall’ serves coffee to those who are quite literally on the go. If the hatch doesn’t grab your attention, then the provocative branding of another coffee shop nearby surely will. Probably not everyone’s ‘cup of tea’, but F**koffee is certainly embracing a daring concept and pulling in customers despite (or because of?) its provocative tone of voice. 

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We’re surrounded by a plethora of places to get food, whether it’s eat in, a grab and go lunch or a quick food shop for your evening meal. The Giddy Grocery is an independent grocery store that sells local produce in a nostalgic space. In the summer, it opens up the whole shopfront which gives it a friendly and welcoming feel, with wooden grates of fresh veg beckoning the foodie lover. Taking its cues from supermarkets gone by, they pack all their fruit and veg in brown paper bags, a timely reminder of how plastic packaging has become the norm elsewhere. Overall, the nostalgic sensibility of this store makes it stands out, plus it’s all very instagram-able too!

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London Bridge is a place that’s full of big-name restaurants and retailers. But we can’t help thinking these small independents, with their creative outside-box thinking, can teach the big boys a thing or too about how to draw a crowd.

Don’t forget, if you’re in the area, pop in and see us, we’re always up F***koffee.

Author

Sean Dwyer

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