In November 1938, the Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners Advocate carried an ad from Farrish Supermarket, Hunter Street West, Newcastle, calling for a complaint against the Supermarket for charging "excessively high prices". Going a long way with the theme, he was claiming to offer "the best quality, choice and service to the people of Newcastle". This was just after they had suffered some bad publicity from the opening of the now-famous Sydney Gaslight. The ads were full of complaints about the Supermarket charging so much, with one man saying "If I was paying forty pounds for a can of paint, I would rather pay one hundred." It seems though that the "customer of the month" won't be satisfied until the end of time, as when the latest customer survey was run, they actually preferred Supermarket's prices to those of the local petrol station!
At the time Farrish Supermarket didn't own a shop of its own but was owned by John Templeton who also owned the now-defunct Bankstown Shops. Its original location was on Church street, close to the corner of the now-famous Queen Street. When the gaslight business failed in the latter part of World War 2, the owners decided to turn the old shop into a modern supermarket/bakehouse, which quickly became renowned for its cakes and freshly baked goods. The bakery started out with only one outlet - later it opened two more stores on the same streets.
Like most of the "big box" groceries, Supermarket offers mainly the same items that you would find in the big "box" stores, but with a variety. Their French fries were served with this day's beans while fresh Mexican produce was showcased in the "Natural Foods" section. In addition, their Italian breads were served on house-made pizza roll. Of course, as with any grocery chain, the prices are set at "market value" which is generally below the wholesale price. But supermarkets do have a huge mark-up on certain foods, so be prepared to pay that price if you want the best deal.
Another place to shop that's somewhat comparable to Supermarket is Kroger. Though Kroger does have a grocery section (and a large meat department), it is not like the super market with its huge assortment of fresh food. Grocery sections in the grocery store are to provide a convenience to the customer by allowing them to grab something that is closer to the fresh produce or meat section than the hot dog or coffee shop. The grocery in this sense is to make the shopping experience more enjoyable. A shopper is more likely to spend money in the grocery than elsewhere.
Supermarkets are usually enclosed in glass buildings and the shopping experience can be more crowded than a traditional supermarket. These buildings are usually divided by walkways or by aisles. The consumer will pay more at the supermarket because they must first find their way into the building and then be aware of what is in each section. This makes the experience more crowded. It is also less convenient for a consumer who must use multiple passes to move from one aisle to another.
Supermarkets are competing against other chain stores like Wal-Mart and Target. Both are working hard to gain market share by offering better prices on certain products and/or by offering a wider selection of products. Supermarkets can gain market share by providing a slightly better service, a larger variety of products, offering better prices, offering unique products, offering an attractive design or layout, and/or a convenient location.