Sainsburys is to open GPs [doctors] surgeries in its stores. Are supermarkets taking their responsibility for creating a nation of lard-arses really seriously? This hasn’t been picked up much and I’m quite surprised it hasn’t. The move to incorporate Doctor’s surgery’s in store is obviously part of Sainsburys desperate attempt to make its stores competitive again [after failing against Tesco] and pick up custom by making its stores multi-use; spaces for a variety of tasks not just retail consumption. It’s a logical if not particularly welcome move on from coffee stores in books shops and banks and marks another nail in the coffin of the small retailer in Britain’s high streets.
What next? Hospitals with leisure facilities? Nurseries in supermarkets? Police surgeries in supermarkets – [done - this time at a Tesco's]?
And what of the social exclusion such policies entail? The cost of public transport or private transport means that actually getting to these retail spaces that will cater for our needs is going to be relatively more costly for those from poorer areas who will often have further to travel.
It’ll be interesting to see if the move to small being the new big online will affect our consumption patterns and use of larger offline stores. Will we be more likely to want smaller, niche offline suppliers? Or are these monolithic supermarkets, above, going to further drive out smaller suppliers through price competition and economies of scale, in all but ’boutique’ retail areas of larger cities. How will the nature of the products they sell determine their dynamics? For example commoditised products compete mainly on price and to a lesser extent customer service whereas service-based and niche products compete on the basis of provenance and knowledge of supplier.
Another innovation recently, this one in time rather than space: a surgery marketing plastic surgery you can have in your lunch hour. Needles to say it’s been lambasted by all the health pros and policy wonks and needless to say it will be hugely successful and copied by all.