The Stores That Tesco Ate: A Lost Precinct Not So Perfect Ten

A look at ten supermarket chains absorbed by Tesco since 1945 For social historians and retail commentators, the recent history of Tesco is peppered with twists and turns. Contemporary hagiographies focus on the store chain’s tax affairs, or their presence on our High Streets. Much of the groundwork was set in the 1960s and 1970s…

The Lost Precinct Advent Calendar – #24: Woolworths

A Cracking Christmas, 1981 style We have come to the end of our Lost Precinct Advent Calendar and, as you would expect, we have saved the best clip to the last. This time, from the variety store of all variety stores, with a bit of inspiration from ABBA and a star studded line up. The…

The Lost Precinct Advent Calendar – #23: Queensway

Everyone’s a winner (though ultimately some won more than others) So, we go to our penultimate door within The Lost Precinct Advent Calendar. We hope you have enjoyed the journey so far and that it has got you talking to your younger relatives about forgotten foodmarkets or defunct discounters. The Ad of Christmas Past Each…

The Lost Precinct Advent Calendar – #22: C&A

Clemens and August, arr. Cook and Greenaway The Ad of Christmas Past Once upon a time, long before Primark opened its first department stores in England, Scotland and Wales, there was one retailer that offered affordable smart and casual clothing. C&A – Clemens and August to use its full name – was a mainstay of…

The Lost Precinct Advent Calendar – #21: Zodiac Toys

The place to go-go, back in 1985 The Ad of Christmas Past Oh the colour, how much colour in this advert? A shame this was done in the pre-digital era, coming off a fuzzy VHS cassette. At first, we see seven children jumping out of jack-in-a-boxes with one letter spelling the name of the toy…

The Lost Precinct Advent Calendar – #20 Bejam

When a plea for Frozen stuff meant a bag of peas  The Ad of Christmas Past With the rise of the chest freezer and deep freeze fridge freezers, the early 1970s saw a rise in popularity for frozen food. Freezer Centres would form part of many a High Street. As well as regional chains, there was…

The Lost Precinct Advent Calendar – #19 Gateway Superstores

“Full of Fresh Ideas” – for 1987  The Ad of Christmas Past Till the early 1980s, there was a seemingly unwritten rule that ensured all supermarket chain adverts shouted about its prices. TESCO’s Checkout campaigns in 1977 and 1982 perpetuated this though with less brash tones. By the mid-1980s, chains turned their guns towards the experience…

The Lost Precinct Advent Calendar – #18 DER

What do you think you’re playing at by name checking former Hallé Orchestra conductors?  The Ad of Christmas Past DER. Or if you prefer to use its original name, Domestic and Electrical Rentals. The advertisement eschews the ‘do not touch’ approach by encouraging customers to try before they rent! Which in the mid 1980s when this ad…

The Lost Precinct Advent Calendar – #17: Texas Homecare

I don’t want a lover, just four tins of non-drip gloss The Ad of Christmas Past Can’t you tell we’re in 1981? Quasi-computer style special effects, Dungeons and Dragons themed imagery. Oh, and those delightful vector style graphics. I love these early 1980s effects and the synthesised music (see also the opening titles of The…

The Lost Precinct Advent Calendar – #16 John Menzies

They had it  The Ad of Christmas Past Any Scottish readers of this blog may remember this commercial better. Before the 1990s, their chain of newsagents were barely seen south of Hadrian’s Wall. With Christmas coming along, our fellows from Scotland put out this cheap and cheerful advert focusing on its range of toys.

The Lost Precinct Advent Calendar – #15: Safeway

Where Harry Met Molly The Ad of Christmas Past The mid-1990s: a good period for British superstore chains, one of self-confidence and innovation. Also one of memorable advertising campaigns, intentionally or otherwise. TESCO had Prunella Scales and Jane Horrocks in a memorable series of adverts; the ASDA Price bottom slap returned to our screens; Morrisons still…