Once, gourmets and bon viveurs might have looked down on budget supermarkets. Now they are more likely to be looking up where they could find their nearest store.
Hastening the search will be the news this week that Aldi was charging £29.99 for a bottle of the 1973 vintage of Fine Napoleon Brandy - which has a list price of £107 - value not so much to be sniffed at but rather deeply inhaled. The chain store, which now has more than 500 outlets across the country, has been building a reputation as a wine merchant with its "Exquisite Collection" range and caught the noses of wine writers this week for its Champagne Veuve Monsigny Philizot & Fils which costs £12.99. Its low-cost rival Lidl is also appears to be trying to reach the middle-classes with its its first (high budget-looking) television advertisement this week.
The trend follows the likes of the Primark boom, which has seen those from all socio-economic backgrounds rush to snap up cheap clothes. And too the Christmas specials of a couple of years ago, which saw very cheap lobsters on offer. Whether cut-price Cuban cigars and caviar are next remains to be seen, but what is certain is that our cheap stores will likely be keeping many Britons in the Christmas spirit this year.