Today I visited a great small newsagent in Essex. As I asked the manager, Jenny Pettitt to pose outside the shop for a photograph it struck me that this is the first shop I have visited for little while that has had a totally unique shop front, being totally independent and unaffiliated with a symbol group.  Apart from the difference being with a symbol group can make to the business as a whole, I wondered about what difference a branded fascia shop front makes to a business and how it is perceived by its customers.

As most retailers with unbranded shops will tell you, one of the advantages is that you get to be completely unique in how your shop looks and take total charge. It sends a message to customers that you will do things your own way.  But retailers with big, well known names on their shops like Nisa Local, Premier and Best-one, for example, immediately communicate with their customers too – telling them they measure up to the store standards, range and availability provided by that symbol group.

What do you think? Is it better to have an unbranded shop front or to trade on the reputation of a symbol group?