Bunhill: Off their trolley

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The Independent Online
THE super-efficient Germans are making their mark in the tiny Warwickshire market town of Southam (pop. 3,500). Budgens, the supermarket group that has come increasingly under the control of the German giant Rewe, has just introduced Rewe's cheap 'n' cheerful discount format Penny Market to Britain, and the people of Southam are the guinea pigs.

One of the first things to go was the conventional wire basket. Shoppers were told to use trollies (after paying a pounds 1 deposit) or make do with nothing. Scores of shoppers are seen clutching groceries precariously to their chests.

Maureen FitzGerald, one disgruntled local and a lecturer in marketing at Warwick Business School, reckons it's a classic case of how not to market. 'The whole thing is just ludicrous.'

Unfortunately the disease is about to spread. Budgens said last week it planned to open 40 more Penny Market shops over the next two years, all without baskets. However, all is not lost. A Budgens spokeswoman assures me: 'If customers want wire baskets, we will certainly review our policy.'