Shopper habits are changing with customers more likely to shop locally and more frequently than they used to.  Whilst this is great news for independent retailers it hasn’t escaped the notice of the UK’s biggest grocer, Tesco, which is now experimenting with the hypermarket formula.

Whether this is a sign of the multiples’ desperation to keep the supermarket concept alive or an inspired kind of retail theme park remains to be seen.  But Tesco’s gigantic and much-anticipated Extra store in Watford is up and running and is billed as a ‘brand new shopping and leisure destination’.

Among the zanier entertainments on offer for visitors are yoga and cookery classes. The store is also the first Tesco that will have one of the family-friendly Giraffe eateries on its premises, along with a Euphorium bakery and a Harris + Hoole coffee shop.

It also has a deli called City Kitchen, an area called The Bakery Project and a beauty department.

Everyone knows that the real growth in the grocery sector now lies in the convenience channel, rather than out of town supermarkets. So Tesco’s latest store concept is rather intriguing.

The shop will be ‘officially’ unveiled on August 12.