Local and proud it says on this internal sign in the Gosforth branch of Loco, a new concept store from Nisa, that I visited last week. I am yet to meet the owners of North East Convenience Stores but the brothers have set out their stall with this execution.

When we arrived we were warmly welcomed by the staff, who were pleased that we had traveled from London to look around. It was a Tuesday afternoon and not especially busy. Even so, the shop was immaculately merchandised.

The coffee assortment looks great.

So too the chilled bottled lager…which demonstrates an attitude towards having a comprehensive range rather than profit optimisation. This seems to be in keeping with the whole shop which has a very high quality finish.

Great flooring and lighting plus good signs…

And still there are some areas for improvement, with this deals end unit looking cluttered…

And this offer doesn’t pack a punch.

But this is mere quibbling. Loco as executed in Gosforth is fantastic. Provided you have the correct customer catchment area, this could be an attractive symbol offering for you.

However, I note in this week’s Retail Newsagent, that Neil Turton, chief executive of Nisa, suggests that Morrisons is more of threat than Tesco. “It’s been proven time and time again that a decent independent can compete with Tesco,” he said.

North East Convenience have delivered more than just decent. However, there is a big gap between what it is doing and what the average symbol store operator is doing. Are we raising the bar too high at a time when shoppers’ budgets are ever more distressed?

If you are in the north east, a detour to see this shop will pay a dividend. There is a Nisa Local nearby that you can visit as well to evaluate the step up that this shop demonstrates.