You can save £300 a year by shopping at a different Tesco or Sainsbury’s branch

Though nipping to the local Tesco Express five minutes up the road may be extremely convenient, it could be putting you out of pocket by up to £300 per year.

According to research conducted by consumer watchdog Which? 50% of those who shop in smaller convenience stores find the higher prices their biggest frustration.

By swapping a main Sainsbury’s supermarket for a Sainsbury’s Local, you are likely to be spending around £322 a year more, while those who opt to use a Tesco Express rather than a larger Tesco supermarket end up parting ways with £279 extra.

The same study found that since the first COVID-19 lockdown measures were implemented in March of last year, most have preferred to use nearby, smaller shops than tackle densely populated, larger superstores; despite the latter having more stock, and being less expensive.

Which? identified that bills were 9.5% a year higher at a Local than a main Sainsbury’s store, while increasing by 8.4% at a Tesco Express compared with a bigger store.

The study found that a weekly basket of 48 everyday items purchased in a convenience shop came to £6.18 more at a local (£71.26) than at a larger supermarket store (£65.08).

When analysing individual items, the largest price difference came in the form of a can of Napolina Chopped Tomatoes (400g) which cost £1.10 locally and 83p at a main store, while a pack of McVitie’s Ginger Nuts (200g) were £1.25 locally and 99p at the main store.

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Though not quite as big of a price difference as Sainsbury’s, Tesco returned similar results. A weekly basket of 48 items proved to be £5.37 more expensive at an Express (£69.12) than at a larger store (£63.75).

Tesco own label products were also strikingly more expensive at Express stores compared to larger supermarket shops, with one litre cartons of both orange and apple juice costing £1.40 in contrast to just £1.13 at a bigger store.

The survey, made up of more than 1,000 adults, found that the number of people deciding to use convenience stores has seen a sharp increase; 61% of shoppers buying groceries up to three times a month at Costcutter in the eight months since the first lockdown, whereas that figure was just 7% before Covid-19.

Which? head of home products and services Natalie Hitchins said: “Convenience stores have been a huge help to many of us during the pandemic. However, our research shows that shoppers who rely solely on supermarket convenience stores, rather than their larger stores for their groceries, are paying a premium.

“Customers will generally get more for their money at larger supermarket stores, but for some products, the price difference may not be significant, so it is always worth checking prices to make sure you are getting the best deal.”

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