in Shaftesbury

Asda, from hero to villain

It seems an age ago, in the early days of this blog, that I celebrated Asda ‘moving’ to Battersea. Unfortunately it appears they have decided Battersea isn’t for them, and have moved back to Clapham.

Following the lead of a few on Streetbook I’ve complained to Asda about this using their contact form. Here’s what I said:

I’m disappointed that following your recent refurbishment of your SW11 store you decided it brand it Asda Clapham.

It’s unfortunate because it isn’t in Clapham, it’s some distance from it. In fact the SW11 postcode puts you firmly in the heart of Battersea (the post office neighbouring your store, or the Battersea Delivery Office, would be happy to confirm, I’m sure).

What makes it doubly disappointing is that it’s less than two years since you responded to local complaints and named the store ‘Clapham Junction, Battersea’ to accurately reflect its location.

While I understand the confusion, being near to Clapham Junction, there are several other local landmarks that give away the true location; you can see Battersea Library from your car park. Then there’s Battersea Arts Centre just up the road (it used to be Battersea Town Hall).

‘Clapham Junction’ was a marketing decision. At the time it was built Clapham was seen as more up-market than Battersea, so the Clapham label was attached to help attract development to the area.

But today people are proud to live in Battersea, it’s a much nicer neighbourhood than Clapham. Given the history behind the naming, I can only assume that if you don’t rename it’s because you believe the community you serve is so downmarket you want to avoid association with them! Surely this can’t be true and you have plans to correct the name.

I’ll post any reply I get.

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  1. How are you finding Streetbook by the way? They have just extended it to the rest of Wandsworth but most postings in the Tooting forum are spam for services so far. Is the Battersea forum any more lively yet, and is there anyone else on your road registered yet?

    • Yes. There are a lot of offers from businesses (not sure if you’d define them as spam) but a number of residents talking. Like so many things it needs to reach a critical mass, but that seems to be happening. For example there seems to be a fairly lively freecycling thing going on, and a number of others are using it to start a social network. My attempt at a councillor forum hasn’t been that lively, but has a couple of hundred members.

      • Spam might be a bit harsh, but as far as I can see the ones who have posted so far aren’t necessarily local.

        I understand the critical mass thing. I suppose it is down to luck as much as good design whether a certain critical network catches on or drifts off into the ether.

        • I can’t say that I’ve particularly analysed the offers that come through in Battersea, but equally can’t say I’ve particularly thought they weren’t relevant (and we’ve used a couple). One of the ways of building that critical mass – and I am guessing at a business model here – is to use those businesses as an incentive for people to sign up and use the site. Of course, that’s reliant on there being an overlap between the (potential) clientele of the businesses doing it and the people signed up for Streetbook.