Cash and Carry

All that talk about gender-sized tissues led to a question about buying in bulk.  We all know those warehouse/wholesale clubs that dot suburbia far and wide in the US (if not for the large quantities and reportedly-good prices, for the significant aesthetic value that they add to the landscape!)  In fact, you can probably name the top 3 off the top of your head: Costco (about 560 locations), Sam’s Club (about 600 locations, but lower sales – but, of course, part of the Wal-Mart empire), and BJ’s (with a lowly 180 locations). 

But do they have this in the UK?  At first glance, it does seem to be an American type of thing, esepcially given the smaller size/scale of things here.  Given our generally quite urban location and existence (sans-auto), we don’t tend to see too much of those kinds of places.  However, they do exist – Costco has 21 UK locations, for example.  Similarly, there is a market for “cash and carry” warehouse/wholesale kinds of places – one of the largest known as Makro, which apparently dabbled in the US market but retreated sometime in the 1990s, and there is also Bestway, with about 50 locations in the UK.  The primary focus of these “cash and carry” places are really what I remember being big in the early days of the wholesale clubs – catering to small businesses and trade/commercial interests.  Makro, I believe, requires you to be a registered business or an authorized representative of one to shop there. 

21 locations - none called "London"

Why are they not more consumer oriented?  Well, I wouldn’t be surprised if things are heading that way longer-term…but many residences (including ours!) don’t have any space to store bulk items, especially food.  Most of the flats we have seen have quite limited closet space and those infamous dorm-size fridges.  So, in that respect, businesses are perhaps the only ones really able to take advantage of these places. 



Posted on 23/05/2010, in Logistics. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Have you come accross the SPAR chain? It’s logo is a stylized Pine or Fir tree; and it is all over Europe – – YES !! even in Geldermalsen ! It took the small-town people by storm, and for a long time the older locals, like Oom Koos and Tante Em wouldn’t patronize them, sticking to the green grocer, the cheese man, the butcher, the milkman, and of course, the TWO types of bakers: on for bread and the other for pastries. etc. But as time went by, (like 10 – 15 years) they did start using the SPAR store for canned goods (Heaven forbid !) and dry goods like paper goods.
    Interesting how long it takes to break old ways of living isn’t it?

  2. I think that unless you have a really big family, you do not benefit from bulk purchases. Sometimes smaller quantities are offered at great rates. For example, magazines (which I enjoy) are greatly discounted for single copies. In addition, the larger amounts are handy for party events. Love, Your shopping mother, aka ywm aka Valerie

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s