Monday, 8 July 2013

Revamped Tesco Metro opens in Bicester Town Centre

So, after a week long refurbishment, Tesco in the centre of Bicester has re-opened its doors, just ahead of the grand opening of Sainsbury on Wednesday.

Welcome to Tesco Metro!

So what is the new Tesco like? How has it changed? What's new? Bicester Blogger investigates.

Now as you know if you are a regular reader, I have had my problems with this store in the past, however, I have decided to approach this review from a completely fresh perspective. So as far as I am concerned, they are starting with a clean slate.

So what is noticeably different about the new store?

Well - my first thoughts were that it has not changed as much as I thought it would have done. I was expecting a much changed offering, with far less groceries and much more fresh food. But I would say the basic offering of the store is still the same - you can still go there and buy your basic groceries as you could before.

Here are the major changes I noticed whilst reviewing the store today.

The overall number of aisles has been reduced from 11 to 10. This does not sound like a major change, but in fact it does make a considerable difference. The aisles are notably wider than they were before, which was just as well today as the store was packed. This is to be expected on launch day as people are curious. The wider aisles are definitely welcome. Pretty much everything has moved around from where it was before, but the offering is remarkably similar to previously on the standard grocery aisles. I think I was expecting there to be a lot more space dedicated to fresh food than before - and whilst there certainly has been an increase - it has not been on the scale I anticipated - for example like the Sainsbury store on Magdalen Street in Oxford.

A lot brighter! Same old floor though...
The big glass windows facing out to Sheep Street have been changed to clear glass so you can see in and out. This is a huge improvement and really adds to the amount of natural light coming into the store.

The tills have been completely redesigned, the self serve and standard checkouts have basically swapped places. Customer Services is no longer where it was - it has gone up to the other end of the store.

Bakery re-design
The bakery area has been redesigned and now looks more appealing with a sort of bay window style offering. My first impressions were that the product range had not changed much though, I am sure if I am wrong on that I shall be corrected! The fruit and veg area has also been redesigned and looks a lot more appealing.
A lot of space given to water - good in the current weather, but all year round?
At the far end of the store a lot more space has been given over to fresh foods and sandwiches, including one chiller full of water. This is the area where the most change has taken place. There is now a hot chicken counter which looks rather nice, and also a salad bar, and hot pies. This is clearly in an attempt to compete with Sainsbury who are going to have all of the same things in their new store. I shall take a look in there on Wednesday so I can compare the two.

The salad bar. Doubt I'll be frequenting this much but thought I'd
better put it in as I know some of you like that sort of thing.

As far as pricing goes, my first impressions were that grocery prices were in line with what they were before, but I have not yet done any investigation into this. My plan for a future blog is to do a price comparison between this store and the big Tesco at Pingle Drive to see if there are any discrepancies. My guess is that there probably won't be, because to me it would be commercial suicide to try and charge convenience store prices right next door to a big Sainsbury.

Hot chicken - self serve, this is more my sort of thing.

So - in summary, a reasonable refit, with a few new offerings, but nowhere near as big a change as I expected. It still feels like the same store to me with a few added frills. Can it compete against Sainsbury? Well it is not for me to say, I'm not going to dust down the crystal ball just yet, but I have my own personal views on what will happen. It would be unfair of me to put them here though and bias anyone, so I shall merely say, toss a coin boys, let the match commence and may the best team win.

Jason xx

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  1. You are right in that the bakery area has not changed much, however they increased the range recently, so there wasn't much else that could be done there! It is now altogether though, whereas before, it was all in different places,so I think it is an improvement. Also, there is now a hot chicken and pie counter as well as a salad bar, increased ranges on produce, fresh meat and frozen items as well as major changes on the grocery ranges including: an entire new range of Thai,Japanese,& other Oriental ingredients, an American sweet aisle,increased range of basic cookery items such as shake & bake mixes and other sauces, additional meat products including diced lamb and pork casserole meats, more frozen items plus additional produce products unavailable previously.The aisles at the checkout area have been made bigger so as to get down them more easily, and at a guess the cold pie range has probably been decreased because there are now hot pies available to buy in store.

    1. Quite a lot of useful info there - thanks for that. You neglected to mention that Ritz crackers are now also available in cheese flavour as well as original, however I recognise that is something that may be of special importance to me and not that relevant to the general public.

  2. I think the Ritz cracker additions are probably just part of your cheese fetish J, lol! Forgot to say that the sandwich range has also been increased which is also an improvement.