The Money Shot: supermarket sea change

A woman pushing a trolley in a supermarket
"Mmm," thought Imelda. "Boiled beef and carrots for tea"
"We're sure the Tristans, Posies and Horatios of west London can't wait to get their mitts on some premium German biscuits"
  • | by Emily Bater

The last few days haven't been ones to savour for some of Britain's established supermarkets.

First Morrisons announced the sale of 140 local convenience stores, and then the closure of 11 supermarkets, risking 900 jobs. It also reported a 47% drop in half-yearly profits of an eye-watering £126m before tax.

The owner of John Lewis and Waitrose also announced a stomach-churning 26% fall in profits.

As shoppers change the way they buy and become less dependent on one supermarket it's not surprising that Morrisons and Waitrose have struggled – the once untouchable Tesco saw its fortunes nosedive earlier this year.

But while Morrisons and Waitrose flounder, bargain-tastic German retailer Lidl is planning to open 10 new stores in affluent areas of London, including Notting Hill, Highgate and Mayfair, the kinds of places you would usually expect to shun the typically discount brand. Its compatriot, Aldi, is making similar inroads on the supermarket scene.

When Henry and Milly take their little scamps to the nearest Lidl they'll no doubt be impressed by the wide range of the often-amusingly monickered European luxury goods and brands on offer (anyone for a Crusti Croc?), and we're sure the Tristans, Posies and Horatios of west London can't wait to get their mitts on some keenly priced German biscuits.

This news comes as no surprise to the Money Shot – we recently spotted three luxury SUVs parked outside our local German discounter. If that isn't a sign of the appropriation of Lidl by the squeezed middle classes, we don't know what is. 

News in brief

The base rate of interest was held at 0.5% again, but talk of a rise refuses to go away. Is it time to pounce on a tasty low fixed-rate mortgage while you can?

House price inflation is set to rise to 6% this year, according to the number crunchers at the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.

Apple unveiled the new iPhone 6 Plus, much to the delight/boredom of many. Apple also showed off its new iPad Pro, a new bigger iPad for those who want a bit more girth from their tablet.

The safety of self-driving cars has been called into question by a security researcher who claims that a homemade laser can disable the system the cars use to see where they're going.

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Covered mag letters

To whom it may concern,

I read your article on psychometric testing last week and was struck by how similar our lives are becoming to an Orwellian imagining. The idea that our personalities may be checked before we are permitted to borrow money seems dystopian and extreme – what if I refuse to allow banks access to the innermost workings of my mind?

I am one of the lucky few who already has enough cash to build my cabin in the wilds of the North, in preparation for the imminent fall of civilisation.

I personally boycott banks and finance, as they will surely be one of the first to fall along with the government and the monarchy. The sanest citizens must already keep their wealth in the form of gold bullion, surely?

Yours in preparation,

David T. Burns, Norfolk

Join us next week for another supermarket-sweeping edition of the Money Shot. Until then, send us your letters