What is a flagship supermarket? An analysis of supermarket flagships in a historical context
A dictionary definition suggests that ‘flagship’ can be interpreted as ‘a single item from a related group considered as the most important, often in establishing a public image’ (Collins English Dictionary 1986). It can be argued that the architectural design of a number of supermarket buildings in the UK are intended to ‘establish a public image’ for the company that has developed them. This chapter will explore the concept of flagship stores in the context of supermarket commerce and the architectural design of supermarket developments. The main focus is on a series of landmark stores produced by Sainsbury’s during the 1980s and the significance of their designs, their origins and antecedents. These will be discussed in the context of supermarket buildings produced by other grocery retailers in the past twenty years.