Now that's a Nisa meatball!

The new Nisa supermarket on Mantle Road officially opens tomorrow. It's been open irregularly over the last few days, while they've been stocking up and testing their systems and we had a chance to try it out yesterday.

It appears primarily to be aimed at the convenience shopper and impulse buys, with a special offer on advent calendars greeting our arrival and chocolate, beer and crisps all pretty prominently displayed when you walk in.

Closer in feel to the Tesco Express on Lewisham Way than to the Costcutter on Brockley Road, its aisles are wide and bright. It feels like it has a narrower range than Costcutter, but on the other hand, its fresh fruit and vegetables (although overpackaged) look a bit more appetising and Brockley Central wasn't filled with the same sense of doubt when examining the meat.

The staff were nice and unnecessarily apologetic for the fact that they were still stocking up. Prices seemed pretty reasonable, although we lost our receipt so can't give you any examples, except that two litres of semi skimmed milk cost 93p (or something like that).


We don't expect the differences between Nisa and Costcutter will be significant enough to tempt many across the bridge on a regular basis, but if you live on the west side of the station, you now have a nice little supermarket to hand and one that will brighten up a previously dark stretch of street.

80 comments:

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mr Breakspears said...

Would have preferred a Laser Quest at those premises.

Anonymous said...

most of the food on display is junk food. The feel is that of a gas station corner shop.

Daisy said...

Wow! 93p for 2 lts of milk. What do you suppose the farmer made out of that? Tuppence? Or more likely a loss.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Happy shopper said...

"most of the food on display is junk food. The feel is that of a gas station corner shop."

It's a run of the mill convenience store, it's what they sell. It's what consumers seem to want to buy. It's not, as far as I'm aware, compulsory to buy it.

Get over yourself.

Anonymous said...

hmmm, so now we have 2 shops west of Brockley station. The new one and the one stop shop on Endwell Road by the chicken place.

I wonder if they are gonna have a price wars??

Westsider said...

@Daisy - I give that question exactly as much thought as I give to the question of what margin the plastic bottle makers make per unit. Or how much profit the shop owners are making. Is there a reason why you single out farmers in this supply chain?

If the farmers are being squeezed to the point that they can't survive, then they can sell their land to someone else who wants to give it a go and they can try going to work in an office and buying their milk from shops. They might feel differently about the price of milk if they did.

Westsider said...

Anyway, the shop's OK. Welcome addition.

Tressilliana said...

I think there's a good reason to single out farmers in the supply chain because if dairy and other farmers chuck in the towel in the UK our landscape will look very different and the work they do to provide habitats for other species will not get done.

I'm no expert on agriculture - I just pick up dribs and drabs from The Archers - but I do know dairy farmers have had a very hard time in recent years. Long, long hours and very little money at the end of it, such is the stranglehold of the supermarkets.

Buttercup said...

Actually Westsider without the farmers there wouldn't be any milk. Duh.

Anonymous said...

@"This post has been removed by a blog administrator."
You didn't?!

Anonymous said...

There is a demand for milk, there will always be milk. If the farmers can nolonger make a living from what is payed, they will stop. So the milk buyers will pay more. It's a system that goes back thousands of years....supply....demand....

Duh!

Tressilliana said...

Actually, anon, what will probably happen is that UK farmers will stop producing milk and supermarket buyers will buy in cheap milk produced on farms with inferior welfare standards overseas. Supermarkets rely on having cheap milk as a loss leader to pull in the punters who then buy a few other more profitable items while they're there. So big increases in food miles, big change in the rural economy, landscape, ecology etc, not much change in the price of milk. Is that a price worth paying?

Westsider said...

If that were to happen then that would be regrettable. However, it seems an implausible scenraio to me and some special pleading from the farmer lobby and a few plot lines from the Archers won't convince me otherwise.

I'll let the farmers, buyers and government regulators worry about it. It's not like farming is not already heavily subsidised.

And trsessilliana, a loss leader is something that the shop makes a loss on, not necessarily the producer.

Phil Archer said...

There was an interesting feature in the Observer about how supermarkets pass on the reduced prices to farmers, who then have to like it or lump it. The supermarkets never lose.

Westsider said...

Yes that's the same for the producers of just about everything. It means we get lower prices, the farmers get enough to be comfortable but no more (and why should they automatically make handsome profits at our expense?)

Tressilliana said...

I thought it was very well known that supermarkets pass the marketing costs (and that includes price discounting costs and all other special offers) onto producers wherever possible. They don't miss a trick.

Anonymous said...

That's the market deciding.

NAT said...

Actually Westsider, the point Phil Archer makes is a valid response to your claim (true in any normal model) that a loss leader is a loss borne by the retailer.

I can't say for certain that this 'loss' is inflicted on the supplier but if the administration of 'buy one get one free' deals is any indication then it will be the supplier that bears it.

Brockley Nick said...

Ironically, if you are concerned about the supermarkets' ability to squeeze suppliers, then you should be shopping at the likes of Nisa, since these alternative retailers reduce the dominance of the big four.

Westsider is quite right that just about every supplier, including very big companies, gets squeezed by supermarkets, but the supermarkets themselves make slim margins on sales, so if you want farmers to get more money, you'll have to pay more for your milk. And your apples. And your sausages. etc. etc.

Great stuff said...

I went today, and as a westsider I'm glad to say that I shall never be going to costcutters again. Thought they had better stock, and yes the fruit, veg and meat looked in better nick.

The Cat Man said...

I think it's a great shop for all the essentials, I have no idea what will happen to the existing convienience on mantle Rd - b2 or whatever it's called..

And are they going to change that bloody Haynes Park Sign to Brockley or something? Sigh....

Anonymous said...

Decent addition to the area. Nice wide aisles and probably worth crossing the bridge for straight off the train in the evening.

B. de Ferranti said...

Or how about the supermarkets operating at the ridiculous margins that they force onto the farmers?

If price is all that you care about the 99p shop and Poundland in Lewisham
both sell milk even cheaper.
In the early days of computering (1960s) we had a saying "RIRO" Rubbish in rubbish out. same goes for what we put in our mouths.

Anonymous said...

Well yes, but milk is still milk same as eggs are still eggs. Marketers try (and succeed) in getting certain types of people to pay more for these simple commodities.

Brockley Nick said...

What margins do supermarkets operate at? What margins do UK dairy farmers operate at?

Genuine question. I suspect the former operate on lower margins than the latter. Supermarkets are a low margin, high turnover industry.

And if farmers don't want to compete for supermarket trade, then they have some options - cultivate new markets (eg: direct to consumer, small retailers, etc) or differentiate their products so that they can charge a premium, which is what organic, etc is really all about.

Anyway, to go back to Daisy's original point - what how much should one pay for 2 litres of semi-skimmed milk? I have no idea what would constitute a "fair" price. Does anyone here know?

Anonymous said...

"if you live on the west side of the station, you now have a nice little supermarket to hand".

West Brockley already has a (very) nice little supermarket in the excellent Broca food store. I will continue to shop there.

Cannot see this place offering much more than Costcutter already does. A real waste of a prominent retail unit in my view.

Also I see that they have put up advertising in the windows backing onto the station platform already - this does nothing to enhance the look of the building at all.

NAT said...

I'd agree Nick with all of that, however the point was a more specific one about loss leaders and who bears the costs of them.

Say the farmer recieves 17p for his litre of milk, which he does, and the nominal cost of producing a litre of milk is calculated at being 21p, which it is. Does public subsidy make up the difference?

Is the taxpayer subsidising Tesco's loss leader?

Bet you're sorry you mentioned the bloody milk.

huh? said...

"Cannot see this place offering much more than Costcutter already does. A real waste of a prominent retail unit in my view"

why does it need to? For people living on the west side Costcutters is a pain to get to. This place is on the way home with no hideous Brockley road to negotiate.

Brockley Nick said...

@NAT - ha, yes. But I also bought a packet of Doritos and since they're made by Pepsico (client - also squeezed by supermarkets) I thought the milk was the safe option.

To your example though, that's not the taxpayer subsidising Tesco, that's the taxpayer subsidising the consumer. We're paying ourselves to get cheap milk. Which is OK, if you think that milk is one of those things that should be cheap, because it's relatively good for you and the less well off should have affordable access to it.

Get rid of subsidies, taxes come down, inflation goes up and the least well off get hardest hit. Not sure that's what Daisy had in mind.

NAT said...

@ Nick, that was in response to your penultimate post. Bit slow this evening.

Brockley Nick said...

@Huh - yes, there is a certain irony that this thread features complaints about a) supermarket dominance (too little competition) and b) competition between two smaller retailers (too much competition).

Brockley Nick said...

PS maybe it would be helpful if we stopped using the term loss-leader, since by definition, a loss-leader is a product that the retailer makes a loss on (in order to get people in the store so they buy other things). If the supermarkets are not making a loss on it themselves, then it's not a loss leader, it's just cheap milk.

NAT said...

Nick, milk is a special case in point as it's the ideal loss leader being relatively non-stockpilable(for want of a better word) and of universal nessecity.

A benefit is conferred on the supermarket by its loss leaders and great ingenuity is expended in their placement.

The bigger the supermarket the more it can lean on its suppliers for pricing and is it possible that as it drives the farm gate price down the good old taxpayer pops up to take up the slack and so subsidises the big players?

Brockley Nick said...

@NAT - agree with all of that up til this point:

"is it possible that as it drives the farm gate price down the good old taxpayer pops up to take up the slack and so subsidises the big players?"

But it has been said by others (and I think they are basically right) that the supermarket always makes its margins. The logic of what you're saying is that if the subsidy was taken away, the difference would have to be made up by supermarket profits. That seems unlikely to me. I'd think they'd just pass the higher price on to us. In other words, we are subsidising ourselves.

Mr Breakspears said...

Can we just get rid of the Nisa and have an 'urban pasture' with some cows on it? That way when we need milk we can just take a bucket and milk them.

NAT said...

Yes but if I as a Nisa customer don't want to subsidise Tesco. I should have that choice in an open economy

Anonymous said...

no, can we actually get a Waitrose... thanks

Brockley Nick said...

But farm subsidies don'r subsidies don't depress prices for just one buyer. Your taxes also subsidise the price of milk in Nisa (which after all was the original point of this discussion - some people think Nisa's milk prices are too cheap).

Like I say, I don't think farm subsidies make any odds to Tesco. Price goes up, they charge more. They only care about being cheaper than their competition. They do that by being a) bigger, so can negotiate bigger bulk discounts and b) more efficient. Subsidies don't come in to it.

If you're saying you want rid of farm subsidies, well I'm tempted to agree with you, but I also have some sympathy for the idea that food is a strategic industry that requires some protectionism. The EU complicates it all anyway. Tariffs within the EU not possible and CAP determines subsidy levels (I think?).

Anonymous said...

Huh? "For people living on the west side Costcutters is a pain to get to"- yeah it's a real trek!

huh? said...

not any more though..

NAT said...

This sort of complexity calls for the finest, keenest and most commited minds at our disposal.

Lou?

Brockley Nick said...

Jonah has a few theories about who's to blame

terrencetrentderby said...

drank a pint of cheap milk then read the comments here and literally shat myself with shame

NAT said...

I was thinking about 'Our Jonah', (Master and commander) and considered that what you have allowed here gives him the lie (Garrows Law..ish)

Anonymous said...

Yes but...once we're weaned we don't need milk to drink, OK we need it to make Yorkshire pudding.

NAT said...

And TTDerby Laughed at that jazzmag, ritual slaughter, down home on the range riff.

Robin said...

It looks like Pedder Property made a mistake, calling the address here Mantle Road, Haynes Park, Brockley, back when the unit was still vacant - and the mistake has stuck.

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/215/picture1epg.png/

Anonymous said...

Milk production doesn't receive any subsidies. The farmers are trying to play catch-up by intensifying, but they never will.

N said...

thanks Anon. It's pretty clear here that we're all a bit in the dark.

Any info would be welcomed.

NAT said...

Nat not N. my nckname.

Tamsin said...

I really appreciate the cheap food we have in the UK, it's crucial when so many are below or hovering around the poverty line, and inflation is a situation that hits hardest at the worst off, but...

A thought that occured in reading all this - that esentials are available so cheaply (foodstuffs in the supermarkets, clothing in the likes of Primark) is probably a contributing factor to the throw-away mentality of much of society. An extreme case, but there was someone featuring on a TV programme a while back who never washed his underpants. Not as bad as it sounds - he wore them for a day then threw them away! And there is the current debate about removing the "sell by" date because it is confusing people in to binning perfectly good foodstuffs.

Milk is a case in point. Actually, if it's been refrigerated properly all the way along the chain, it'll keep past the "use by" date as well. And, for heaven's sake, you can taste if it is on the turn. All you need to do is sniff and take a small sip before sloshing it on the cereal.

sunny said...

After financial armageddon comes and the infrastructure of our society collapses, the farmers will control the food supply and be the most powerful people around.

Anonymous said...

Clean, tidy, polite staff, no past it produce lurking on the shelves, fruit 'n veg looks far superior, as does the meat (not hard). I will be trying to use this palce over Costcutter as much as possible.

patrick1971 said...

The easy way to deal with the milk issue is to stop drinking the ghastly stuff. We're the only species that drinks another's milk. It's truly gross and connected to all manner of health problems. The whole calcium issue is a red herring dreamt up by the dairy industry to get kids hooked young; if you eat enough of the proper foods you don't need milk to have healthy bones.

Brockley Nick said...

@Patrick, we are also the only species that stays up until 3am playing Batman: Arkham City and there are probably all sorts of long-term health problems associated with this behaviour, but I fully intend to carry on doing it.

Anonymous said...

"we are also the only species that stays up until 3am playing Batman"

Yikes! An explanation.

Brockley Nick said...

If you haven't tried it, don't knock it.

THNick said...

Patrick - we're the only species to slaughter other animal, cut them up and then cook them in grape juice, but I'm not giving up on beef casseroles.

Tamsin said...

Having a digestive system able to cope with milk (and another species milk at that) into adult-hood was a favourable evolutionary trait that spread remarkably rapidly in Northern Europe. Never developed with the Asiatics - hence lactose intolerance and all those problems. Can't remember what the article said about those of African origin.

Anonymous said...

@Patrick - yes, other good sources of calcium are cheese and yoghurt, or are they also "gross"?
Milk is lovely and tasty and unless you have an actual medically defined allergy to lactose is not "connected to all manner of health problems".

GENERAL IGNORANCE said...

"Having a digestive system able to cope with milk (and another species milk at that) into adult-hood was a favourable evolutionary trait that spread remarkably rapidly in Northern Europe. Never developed with the Asiatics - hence lactose intolerance and all those problems."

ARH, YES. THOSE ASIATICS DON'T LIKE THEIR DAIRY DO THEY?, NOOOO.....LACTOSE INTOLERANT THE LOT OF EM...

WHERE ARE GETTING THIS DRIVEL?

Can't remember what the article said about those of African origin.

PROBABLY SOMETHING ABOUT GOAT'S MILK I SHOULD IMAGINE TAMSIN.

Anonymous said...

moron...
"There's a strong genetic pattern to food intolerances. Lactose intolerance is less common among northern and western Europeans (10 to 15 per cent are affected) than in Asian, African, native American and Mediterranean populations (70 to 90 per cent are affected)."
http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/foodintolerance1.shtml

20 seconds on google

Tamsin said...

Well-named!
Sub-Saharan Africa is mainly cattle - goats are around the Med.

It would have been in New Scientist, so not Daily Mail drivel but fairly serious science.
And *whisper* why are you shouting?

Back to topic - bear in mind that Nisa have not had the time yet to get grubby or have out of date stuff lurking on their shelves.

GENERAL IGNORANCE said...

er, because I hate to see you spout such BS.

"Sub-Saharan Africa is mainly cattle - goats are around the Med."

WHAT THE EFF???

how come whenever I go to Africa I end up eating goat meat everywhere?

Anonymous said...

dear mr general ignorance,
The fact that Asian people are more likely to be intolerant to lactose is not 'BS', it's a scientific fact.
best wishes
major I can use the internet better than you

p.s. cats are also lactose intolerant, do you have a conflicting opinion about this too?

Oh really? said...

you'd think they'd stop using it in their cooking or selling it on street corners all over Delhi then.

Anonymous said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lassi

Anonymous said...

Psst... I think they're talking about Asians as in China, Japan, Thailand etc.

Fattyfattybumbum said...

Doesn't the shop owner realise where his shop is? I wont shop there until he does.

Tamsin said...

Yoghurt being consumed by those with some degree of lactose intolerance does not surprise me at all - it's half digested already. So I did a search and came up with this from the website of National Insitute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
"Yogurt made with active and live bacterial cultures is a good source of calcium for many people with lactose intolerance. When this type of yogurt enters the intestine, the bacterial cultures convert lactose to lactic acid, so the yogurt may be well-tolerated due to a lower lactose content than yogurt without live cultures. Frozen yogurt does not contain bacterial cultures, so it may not be well-tolerated"

Goat milk is also more tolerable (so far as digestive reaction goes, not actual taste!). My uncle nearly died as a very young child in India, not keeping anything down until my grandmother got hold of some goats milk - and she looked kindly on goats ever since.

Fattyfattybumbum said...

Is anyone else baffled by this new shop having the wrong suburb on its signage yet not actually bothering to change it?

Talk about showing an interest in your neighbourhood!

Haynes Park Warden said...

I hope you've stuck to your word and have not shopped there yet FFBB. Keen though, obviously.

FREE CASH MACHINE said...

There's now a free cash machine Westside too (in the NISA) which seemed beyond possibility 3 years ago!!!!

celeb spotter said...

Just had a good Brockley Celeb Spot! Lenny Henry in the Nisa westside. Weird/why? didn't think he was local.

Anonymous said...

Only in Brockley could a thread bringing the good news of a new supermarket turn into a mung bean eating whingefest about the ethics of milk, for christ's sake...

There are dishonest establishments nearby if you want to pay 'artisan' prices for dishonest fare.

NAT said...

Only in Brockley etc. etc. .....

No Anon that conversation could happen anywhere people give the slightest stuff about what they're consuming.

Quite common these days.

A LenHen sighting on the Westside is considerably rarer.

Brockley Ben said...

The mysterious "Haynes Park" is no more.

Anonymous said...

Shame - was hoping it would give a new name to the area in the same way as the very-much-made-up Crofton Park did to that particular stretch of Brockley.

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