Clarence Saunders, founder of the Piggly Wiggly chain of supermarkets (USPTO: 1917). However it was not long until the self serving store was found across the North American continent and made its way to the UK.
The initial success of the supermarket was the ability of customers to inspect products for themselves before making a purchase. In the past it was the case that products were kept behind counters and were only accessed by shop keepers. Building on this idea, the supermarket concept also brought with it the ability to shop for a variety of goods in different departments. It was the case that in the past customers had to purchase meat from butchers, bread from bakers, fruits and vegetables from green-grocers, canned and dried goods from a dry goods shop and sweets from confectioners. Naturally, if one were to accomplish all of the family shopping it would be a very long excursion however with the ability to accomplish all of this shopping in one location more time would be free for other activities.
According to the Times Online the big four supermarket retailers in the UK are Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons which control about 75% of the UK grocery retail market (Judge, 2008). Anybody familiar with the grocery market would be able to identify that there are a number of other major competitors such as ALDI, Lidl, Spar, and Costco to name a few. It is the case that most residents in the UK do the majority of their shopping at supermarkets with only a small percentage doing their shopping at other locations such as specialty shops, boutiques, farmers markets etc.
As mentioned in the discussion of the origins of supermarkets it was the case that one of the original benefits of the supermarket model was that it was a one-stop destination for all food (And many non-food) items. With the advent of many other modern conveniences such as