/ Shopping

Will you shop at Tesco’s new budget store, Jack’s?

The UK’s largest supermarket is on the front foot again today, launching its new budget store: Jack’s. But will it really rival Aldi, Lidl and other discounters?

Aldi and Lidl have really shaken up the UK grocery market over the last few years. Shoppers are increasingly prioritising price over customer experience and, thanks to Aldi and Lidl, have learned they do not need to sacrifice quality to do so.

Aldi came top of Which?’s annual supermarket survey earlier this year – knocking perennial favourite Waitrose down the rankings.

And at first blush at least, it seems Tesco is hoping for a bite of the very same pie.

Low-cost lines

Like Aldi and Lidl, Jack’s will carry a limited number of carefully-chosen selected lines. These, we are promised, will be low-cost but still quality products.

Like Aldi and Lidl, the branding and design of Jack’s is back-to-basics. And like Aldi and Lidl, there will be a ‘specials’-type aisle selling non-food products in the middle of the stores.

The emphasis on selling British products and produce may set it apart though, at least in shoppers’ minds. Eight in 10 of Jack’s food and drink products will be made, grown or reared in Britain.

Buying British

And initially, at least, there are only plans for 10-15 Jack’s stores across the country, in a mix of new sites, sites next to current Tesco stores, and a small number of converted Tesco stores

I like to think I’m a fickle shopper and tend to vary shopping at one of the ‘Big Four’ supermarkets – Asda, Morrisons, Tesco and Sainsbury’s – with the occasional visit to Aldi, Lidl and Waitrose.

I like the idea of Jack’s, particularly its emphasis on selling British produce, combined with low cost and high quality.

Sink or swim

But whether it will be a business success remains to be seen. Tesco rivals Sainsbury’s and Asda have both tried and failed to launch similar discounter spin-offs in recent years.

Sainsbury’s opened a string of Netto stores in partnership with the Danish chain’s parent group in 2014, shutting them down two years later. And in 2006 Asda tried launching Asda Essentials, only to close it down 10 months later.

Jack’s will have to differentiate itself significantly from other Tesco-branded stores. And it seems a shame it won’t offer Clubcard points or online shopping.

Do you think budget supermarkets are the future? Is the emphasis on buying British something you support? Would you give Jack’s a go – and do you think it will be a success?

Will you shop at Jack's?

No – There are already enough discounter stores. (52%, 44 Votes)

Yes – I like the sound of it. (48%, 40 Votes)

Total Voters: 84

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I’d probably pop in to the store, if it suited me. It would be factors like easy parking, not too busy a store and if the shop was located on my journey, that would get me to shop there. I’ve no doubt the prices will be favourable, but it would need to be very worthwhile to make me go out of my way or make a special journey.
It would likely be just occasional visits for me though for emergency bits, as I do most of my shopping online.

We already have a Jack’s store in our village so we don’t need two but Lidl are moving into my nearest town which currently only has Waitrose, so it’s not good news for them. It will be interesting to see whether Jack’s can really meet their British Products promise and keep prices competitive.

What’s it like, Beryl? I’m yet to see one. I’ve really warmed to Aldi since one opened locally a few years back, so I’m intrigued by Jack’s.

I was visiting my bank today and parked in the Lidl store opposite. When I do this I generally buy one or two items unless the queue is long, which is often the case. I looked at meat and veg displays with Union flags in the shape of hearts displayed above. The meat that I saw was marked British but there was asparagus from Peru and stir-fry vegetables from the EU. I think they need to take a lidl more care with their signage.

It’s a little ‘open all hours’ general store that’s been going for years run by Jack and family. It has another name but it has always been known by all the locals as Jack’s and I guess it always will be.

Remembering how Tesco put paid to our local butcher (excellent), greengrocers and Post Office/general shop I hope that you keep your family shop and Tesco does not set up a Jack’s supermarket nearby, Beryl.

Martin Fletcher says:
19 October 2018

Its Waitrose that needs to watch out.If both their branded goods and their own are dearer than every where els it will be cheaper to drive a couple of miles to a big 4 store or lidl or Aldi.

That will depend, for some, upon the quality. Many shop at Waitrose and M&S despite being near Aldi and Lidl.

In which case they are guilty of false advertising. To surround a display of vegetables with Union Flags which actually come from outside the UK is wrong and misleading. What you should do is take this up with the branch manager, and if they fail to act, report the issue to their head office. Last year I was in Sainbury’s and the display of strawberries was festooned with so many Union Flags that it looked like the Queen was about to visit. All the strawberries came from Spain. I made an immediate complaint to the manager and, to give him his due, he got his staff to take down the flags immediately.

It was really we who changed the face of shopping by choosing to take our custom to the supermarkets. We choose to shop online, and lose other high st. stores, we make less use of banks and ATMs, so some close, using cars affects public transport……. Inevitably people bring in innovations and by embracing them we contribute to change.

Would we do so if we could see the consequences? Almost certainly, in my view. Does the local butcher deserve more support than the people who work in the supermarket? They are both in business to profit from our custom.

michael simms says:
20 September 2018

anything done by this company will succeed

We shop at supermarkets because they are there, and they would not be there without planning permission from the District Council. Without online shopping the elderly and infirm would lose their independence and would be unable to continue to survive in their own homes.

Most rural villages rely upon a small general store that supplies basic essentials such as fresh milk and bread and occasionally an ATM if you are lucky, and in places abandoned by the smaller chain stores such as Spar and Safeway, local people will get together and form a small cooperative shop which is usually run by themselves on a voluntary basis.

Tesco recently opened a small convenience store on the outskirts of our village despite local opposition, so one questions how and why permission was granted by the Local Council when it was generally considered an unnecessary adjunct by most residents. This new venture by Tesco, in my opinion, is a marketing ploy to counteract
the invasion of budget supermarkets such as Lidl and Aldi in order to continue to secure and monopolise the grocery marketplace.

I am convinced the future of large supermarket chains lies in online shopping as more and more women with less time to spare, need to take on paid work outside the home to supplement the family income, hence the need to continue to patron the local store for that essential commodity you forgot to include on your supermarket shopping list and which could prove to be a lifeline for most on occasion.

I think you’re right Beryl: local shops will always exist for the things you forget to order online/run out of. But also I sometimes actually enjoy shopping in supermarkets just so I can physically look at all the stuff I’m buying – I wonder if online shopping will ever be able to imitate this?

Martin Fletcher says:
19 October 2018

Thats right, as said beffore the Voracious, 5 years ago, Tesco opens small stores where none are needed too force out the independants but Lidl and Aldi are much too big for them to do that and while tesco are closing Stores the other two are opening them and they know the best places to do it as well. I have also noticed in at least three medium towns including my on that they open next to a Home Bargains and a Iceland and all three thrive against the big 4.

I don’t think online shopping will ever totally replace actual visiting supermarkets Oscar for reasons that you quote, but with more budget competition entering the market from foreign countries, plus an ever increasing threat from online shopping, footfall is bound to decrease in the larger stores, affecting their overhead expenditure and ultimately their profit margins.

Tesco are aware of this threat which is one of their reasons for introducing ‘Jack’s’ to ensure a continuing comprehensive and lucrative share of the market. ‘Jumping Jack’s’ seems more appropriate here I think – or maybe I am being a tad over cynical! Trouble is they are now so well and truly established in local villages with their ‘convenience’ shops, the smaller independents are rapidly being priced out of the market.

I have however noticed an increased interest in local farm-c*m-garden centre shops selling local organic produce, which always seem to be extremely busy when I have visited, together of course with the extra lure of their lovely cafe’s with home-made cakes and scones and friendly country folk! Nice 🙂

Martin Fletcher says:
19 October 2018

I buy online for convenience but I rarely buy anything perishable that way because i do not trust them with the longer dated stuff being put in. My Wife being disabled I have to do the shopping on my own so Online is handy.Icel and have the best site and Asda mostly the cheapest. The big 4 charge too much for deliver and you have to spend £40. Iceland only want £35 and deliver for free so If it is only frozen and some of their limited fresh like Milk and Breasd, they win every time.

I disagree with a blanket approach of buying British. Instead, I believe in buying British when we have the best quality product, buying from another EU country when they have the best quality product, and most crucially selling our highest quality products to other EU countries without any restrictions. That’s what the Single Market is about – everyone across the EU can get the best of everything.

I’d agree. I think those who produce decent products deserve our custom. I don’t agree with supporting a business just because it is “British” – they are all there to make money out of us, and have to earn our patronage.

Do you think we could possibly discuss groceries without bringing Brexit into it?

I buy organic whenever possible – I assume there isn’t much organic food in Jacks – anyone know?

I don’t know – but even big Tesco doesn’t seem to do as wide a range of organic produce as either Sainsbury’s or Waitrose.

Good question, Bret. I’ve not been to Jack’s yet so can’t answer that one. Has anyone else visited yet? It’d be great to know your first impressions.

I would definitely have a look at the store and use it to buy goods I wanted.
However, I assume the lines will be fairly limited, so I would still frequent other stores as well.
Of course, this depends how close the stores would be to me. At present the nearest one is over 70 miles away – not that useful. But I suppose they have to start somewhere.

Are you being paid to advertise Tesco?

You also miss the point of shopping at Aldi. The food is not only cheaper but much better quality.

Tesco and Sainsbury’s are finding out that people vote with their feet when they feel they are being ripped off by higher prices and poorer quality.

There have been a number of times recently where I had to go to the local Sainsbury’s and have ended up with inedible food of poor quality.

And quite how you have found a basket that undercuts Tesco by so much. You must have had to do some research for that!!

Martin Fletcher says:
19 October 2018

NO. The prices will go up soon to match Lidl and Aldi. They cannot do what they did to other small independants by having a lot of loss leaders in their convenience stores to put the indis out of business . I boycott tesco anyway. The few examples you show I do not buy anyway and it is easy for them all to alter a meat price for a week or two. The fact is British owned supermarkets want more profit. The Germans work on less and they do of course stock more foreign stuff but all the big 4 buy veg from abroad. I like the German, Greek, Polish and other special and now and again stuff the Germans put in their stores.. I never go to Sainsbury, too dear and so is Waitrose. It may be swanky but why buy say Tea Bags from them which the same brand is cheaper in Asda or Morrison. Snobbish stupidity.

But sometimes own branded stuff is markedly inferior. Garlic salt, for instance, is far dearer when it’s Bart’s, but it’s also a far higher quality, better packed and lasts longer.

Cornflakes are cornflakes and taste the same whether they are Kellogg’s or the supermarkets own brand. Flour is flour is flour regardless of whether it is Homepride or Sainsbury’s Basics. Pasta is pasta and tastes and looks exactly the same regardless of price.

I have to disagree with you on cornflakes, Russell. I have never been satisfied by the taste of own-label products, even the best of them. It is probably due to decades of conditioning with the major national brand Kelloggs that means that all others seem inferior. On a value-for-money basis the alternatives are acceptable but I am afraid I put taste and flavour first.

Online will, I suspect, differentiate into hardware, CDs, DVDs, Blu Rays and similar items where it’s a finite product with a quality assured content. High streets need to start to reinvent themselves, and there’s huge opportunities for them so to do.

Clothes and shoes will, I suspect, always have a place on the high street but smaller service-type places will too. When you visit the top floor of Harrod’s toy department you’ll always find staff demonstrating things; model ‘planes, magic tricks, Lego models and more. These inevitably attract large crowds and you tube’s no replacement.

There are also skills, such as glass blowing and modelling which simply can’t be demonstrated online and which are guaranteed to attract hordes of watchers. And the virtual theme parks also have a place All these things need are entrepreneurs, space and encouragement.

Even online food shopping has limits. People want to see, hold, feel and check goods in store. All is far from lost.

Its all very well to offer “cheap” food, but someone has to pay the price – and that is the farmer or the producer. We owe it to our farmers to save them from the penny-pinching supermarkets who frequently pay pennies to the supplier, reject a high percentage of a crop because it doesn’t conform to some standard idea of size or perfection, and make a massive mark-up on so called “cheap food”. Also, if Tesco can offer cheaper items in Jacks, why can’t it simply reduce the prices in its main stores?

I also notice in the picture accompanying the article in your current issue that every single head of broccoli is encased in shrink-wrap plastic. My local supermarket (not Tesco) always has loose, unpackaged vegetables and I always buy these. They are always cheaper than the packaged vegetables and I defy anyone to tell the difference when the vegetables are cooked whether they were unpackaged and cheap or covered in plastic and expensive. Yes, there are sometimes odd shaped carrots, potatoes that are larger or smaller than “standard” but what do looks matter when you are going to be chopping it up and cooking it anyway?

I think in many cases wrapping vegetables is a ploy to make consumers buy more than they need. We usually buy loose items but sometimes, for specific [i.e. premium] varieties, there is no choice and there are over-large bags of salad potatoes or carrots or packets of apples or oranges. Perhaps this does save some waste as it prevents customers being too picky and avoiding any mis-shapen or spoiled items.

It’s usually better to get the fruit and veg at the market where there is an excellent choice of high quality locally-grown produce and you can have as much or as little as you want. Even imported fruit is generally superior to the supermarket’s offerings, which being pre-ordered on a contractual basis does not allow for adaptation as the crops vary from week to week due to unpredictable climatic changes.

Only those who exclusively eat canned fruit can rely on it when the “Man from Del Monte says YES”. The man from Tesco has to take what turns up at Heathrow and push it out pronto.

Tesco is an expensive shop; started as stack em high sell em cheap it’s now a matter of price em devious and rip em off, and now they’re ripping off Aldi and Lidl’s model. Just cheap.

I wouldn’t shop there. Regardless of whether their prices match Aldi and Lidl I doubt they will match the quality. I will check it out but more from curiosity but will continue to support my
Local Lidl.

David says:
26 October 2018

So Tesco’s are admitting that they have been ‘screwing’ shoppers for years. Now they are telling us after all that they could bring down their prices if they wanted to I am not prepared to support such hypocrisy.

When you consider all supermarket ‘local’ stores are screw-ing us with 10% higher prices than their bigger stores….

Even more hypocrisy.

Prices are based on what we’re prepared to pay.

If we all boycotted the likes of M&S, Co-Op, Waitrose and Sainsbury’s and only shopped at stores like Asda and Lidl, those other stores would have to lower their prices or shut up shop.

But folks, please don’t do this.

I already like the nice short queues in my local Asda and Lidl stores, so please continue to enjoy Waitrose, Sainsbury’s etc.

Fred Smith says:
27 October 2018

Pointing out that Tesco sells more common UK brands can imply that quality is better, which it isn’t. You have previously shown evidence of the high quality of Lidl and Aldi own brands – worth reminding here.

Good point that… 🙂

It would be interesting if Which? compared the quality of food from these different retailers, particularly processed and prepared foods. For something as important as food price, for many, may not be the best criterion. Obesity seems related to cheap food.

Neil says:
27 October 2018

I agree with comments made by previous poster Russell Bowes. Honestly I am a little disappointed that Which has focused exclusively on cost – not to say this isn’t a consideration, but it’s about time someone took the lead and reminded consumers what cheap meat and milk really mean – it won’t be the supermarket that suffers in the relentless price war. I won’t demonise those who genuinely struggle with food costs but there’s no harm in making people aware of the consequences of cheap.

I will NOT shop at Jacks. I am fed up with Tesco trying to take over ALL our retail options and put others out of business.. The new format implies that you are a mug to shop at Tesco because you do not know that Tesco and Jacks are the same stores.