In what must constitute the most Alan Partridge story of 2022, the biggest Tesco Express in the UK has just opened in Balham, south London. ‘So what?’ you might reasonably ask. ‘Presumably another Tesco Express was the biggest one in the UK until this one opened, and one day, a bigger Tesco Express than this will open somewhere in the UK. So it goes.’
Fair enough, but in this age of staffless grocery sheds, it’s pretty heartening that a supermarket giant like Tesco would choose to cut the ribbon on a midsize convenience store in an affluently middle-class area of the capital like Balham, SW17. The site on Balham High Road was formerly a Lidl.
The news was broken by Twitter account Balham Newsie (above). In a subsequent tweet, BN wished the new store good fortune: ‘Congratulations & good luck to store manager, Shariff and the team! #Balham’.
The new Tesco Express joins Balham’s Tesco Extra. Tesco has three grades of operation: small local Tesco Expresses, regular Tesco supermarkets and hypermarket-style Tesco Extras (one of which, in Woolwich, is of such a scale that a MyLondon reporter last year said she felt frightened and disturbed by it. ‘I almost felt drained and I couldn’t wait to leave,’ confessed the appropriately named Amber-Louise Large).
The size of Balham’s new Tesco Express means that it has features commonly found in the company’s larger stores, such as roomier fridges. We also wish it well. It’s the biggest little supermarket in town. For now.
Tesco Express, 279-291 Balham High Rd, SW17 7BA.