Supermarkets That No Longer Exist In The UK

A look at supermarkets we used to love and shop at.


Have you ever wondered what happened to the supermarket that you, your parents or grandparents used to shop at many years ago? 

What Happened To Them?

Some historically popular supermarket brands used to be placed strategically in our towns and communities for our convenience.

In recent times, with the dominance of the major brands we know and love today, we have seen that a majority of independent and smaller chains of supermarkets have since disappeared, seemingly without a trace!

Where did they go, and why did they leave our towns and cities?

Here we can see where exactly they got to, and why we no longer see them on our travels!


Safeway was a staple essentials supermarket seen around towns and cities in the UK from as early as 1962. It was a subsidiary of its American parent company and boasted almost 500 stores around the UK.

It was, however, not designed to be around forever. After a successful merger with Argyll Foods in 2004, it was bought out entirely by WM Morrisons, with most of its existing stores and convenience shops being rebranded to the Morrisons empire and the rest of them being sold. 

We last saw the Brand of Safeway in the UK in late 2005.

Alldays Supermarkets

Allday’s supermarkets were seen in abundance in Scotland and Southeast England in the 1990s and hailed themselves as a chain of convenience stores.

The Alldays brand had high hopes for expanding and purchasing several more outlets that they successfully merged into the existing brand, but their profit did not match the brand’s expansion.

With a lot of courage and buyouts, they continued trading and accumulated almost 100 stores. However, in mid-2002, the brand put itself up for sale after a huge pre-tax loss and was bought out in its entirety by the Co-Operative Group.

Somerfield (Gateway)

Somerfield was a chain of supermarkets that were operating in the UK and were previously called Gateway. 

Somerfield, which was operational as a self-service supermarket from 1960, operated primarily in the Southwest of the UK, Opened its first store under the new branding in Nottingham in 1991.

After many other acquisitions and talks in the background regarding the future of the discount supermarket, the last store was seen open in the UK in the summer of 2011 after a successful takeover from the Co-Operative group.

Sainsbury’s Freezer Centres

As we know it today, the supermarket giant Sainsbury’s once operated a chain of frozen food stores in the UK called Sainsbury’s Freezer Centres. 

The first store opened its first store in 1974 near Bournemouth amid competition from rival frozen food stores. Still, the vision was not met with much success as not many people owned freezers, and, in 1975, stores that we being refurbished or built had freezer departments built into their plans.

In 1986 Sainsbury’s sold their freezer stores to a company called Bejam, and three years later, in 1989, these became part of the Iceland chain of frozen food stores.

Big W

Big W stores were designed to be on a vast scale and encompassed everything all under one roof!

Trading under the Kingfisher Group, which later became rebranded as Woolworths PLC (Which, incidentally, is no longer around anymore!) was operational between 1998 and 2004, so not an overly long time!

In 2004, Big W sold off a third of its store spaces to the likes of Tesco and Asda and rebranded to a more minor exercise called Woolworths out-of-town Stores.

You can no longer find the brand in any disguise on the high street.


Primarily a Northeast England supermarket, Hintons was founded in Middlesborough in 1871 and rapidly expanded in stores and had seven stores in its chain on Teesidde by 1919.

After Hinton’s continued success, it went on to by a chain of off-licenses which increased their premises numbers trading under this name to 55 stores and 30 off-licenses.

Hinton’s was acquired in 1984 by Argyll Foods, and they changed some of its products to the Presto brand while they still traded as HIntons, but slowly the Presto brand dominated, and the brand changed everything to the Presto brand shortly after.


Initially a Danish brand of cut-price supermarket products, Netto hit the UK in the very early 1990s bringing international food and bargain-basement food and products to the home.

Owned by the Salling Group, Netto had accumulated nearly 200 stores by May 2010 but was sold to Asda at this point.

However, Netto came back to the UK shores in 2014 as a collaboration with Sainsbury’s, which lasted two years before Sainsbury’s made the decision to dissolve this partnership and sell all of the stores, so Sainsbury’s could focus more on their investment ventures.


In the early 1960s, 1964 to be exact, Presto supermarkets became popular in Scotland and the North of England but ended up with a presence nationwide.

In 1982, the brand had accumulated 136 stores, and it had transferred all of its going concerts to Argyll Foods, which continued to operate under the presto umbrella until 1985 when a significant rebranding shuffle was decided upon and accumulated a lot of other affiliate stores into the Presto brand.

However, in 1987, the phasing into the Safeway brand began after the parent company Argyll Foods Acquired Safeway, and in 1998 the conversion was complete, and the Presto brand was no more.

As you can see, many of the major supermarket players we see today had some involvement with the disintegration of the smaller and older supermarket brands we used to see on our high streets and industrial estates many years ago.

The dominance of major brands such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, and the Co-operative Group has taken over some of the smaller established brands as part of takeovers and business amalgamations.

By the giants being able to provide a holistic, self-service shopping experience on a more superior level, smaller and more independent supermarkets are a part of supermarket shopping history.

Related: High street stores which are sadly no longer with us


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