Have noticed the staffing issues, but also seems to be more people shopping later now.
I always used to go down about 11pm and there were only a couple of tills and one set of self checkouts open, but wasn’t usually a problem. Now they seem to have to staff more tills to deal with the increased numbers of late shoppers.
I wonder if the heatwave made people go out later and they suddenly realised it was open until midnight.
If strip malls are allowed, and people choose to use them over the high street, and shops empty out on the high street, then it implies only that people had a free choice and they chose strip malls.
Conversely, if strip malls are blocked from being developed (your point about “spreading out shopping options”), we’re forcing everybody to shop in the high street.
As much as I have a romantic notion of the high street and a great love for our unique and independent shops, I don’t think we should fight the tide here.
Some things (like white goods, for example) are better purchased from strip malls with warehouse stores and accessible parking space.
I’d put it out there that the weekly grocery shop is also better done from a strip mall warehouse-sized hypermarket.
But if I want something specialist ie traditional sweet shop, or a decent coffee, I’d prefer the high street.
Both the high street and strip malls can exist and serve different needs. Neither needs to present an existential threat to the other. But they will if we start intervening via planning on ideological grounds (ie “I don’t like strip malls”), or if we start to shoehorn the wrong sort of business into the high street (ie Dominos delivery hub on Honor Oak Park).
I use the Dulwich Sainsbury’s as it’s a lot easier to get to on public transport from FH than waiting all day for a 356 to go down Perry Vale and they seem to have enough staff to man the tills and self checkouts, even if the store is smaller than Bell Green.
Bell Green is a victim of it’s own success, while Forest Hill is fine for a small shop, but impossible for me to do a full shop there.
It is the rule of the majority. If footfall declines dramatically in high streets ‘everybody’ loses the local shops that rely on shoppers popping in while doing their general grocery shopping.
I’m not an advocate for twee little villages as the only possible shopping experience, and I like to visit Bell Green Sainsbury’s (as well as Lidl and Waitrose when I’m in the area), but more often I will visit the supermarkets that I can walk to in the town centre and pop into one of the independent shops or farmers’ market at the same time, when I get the chance.
When you look at plenty of villages in France, they lost all their shops long ago and don’t even have a boulangerie. And in many Norfolk villages, village life doesn’t exist because even the pubs have closed - everybody goes to the Hypermarches and without any footfall in the villages nothing happens and communities and services suffer.
My fear is that with Sainsbury and Aldi in Bell Green the main supermarket in Sydenham will remain under-utilised and choice will be limited in the town centre. This could easily impact on the future footfall to Billings, Fresh and Fruity and all the other shops that rely on people doing their shopping in the town centre.
People don’t choose to lose their local shops, it is just something that happens with the consolidation of shopping centres and strip malls. Shopping in Bromley is good, but you won’t find any independent shops on the High Street or the shopping centre - just chains that are failing to compete with the internet.
With the closure of Barclays, Santander, The Hill, Hamiltons, and a few others, we have a lot of empty properties in Forest Hill. As each closes the prospects for the remaining businesses reduces just a little bit further. This is why the government policy recognises that the first place to increase grocery retailing is in existing town centres rather than out of town shopping centres.
And that’s without considering that Bell Green cannot take much more traffic at peak times, even with a SCOOT system in operation.
It was utter chaos in the Bell Green Sainsbury’s this afternoon. Bakery closed (it was closed on Friday too), hot food counter closed, shelves woefully under stocked, queues five-deep and more for the tills. I’ve copied the link to this thread in a complaint to Sainsbury’s.
It’s not just Bell Green - I’ve noticed how Forest Hill Sainsbury’s is less reliable in terms of items being restocked, although the staff are great and they are able to manage queues much better. The restocking problem is especially noticeable in the mornings so it does seem as if they have stopped restocking overnight.
My main issue with supermarkets generally in SE23 and the surrounding area is that there isn’t much choice - the 3 big supermarkets locally are all Sainsbury’s.
Nest time you shop there, check the back of your receipt for a ‘Lettuce-know’ link. Whatever feedback you give goes not only to the store manager but to the area manager too. Apparently it’s a new system so hopefully the feedback will land somewhere useful.