Paul Geater - New Aldi store planned for Martlesham Heath is another sign of changing retail habits

Futura Park

Futura Park - Credit: Contributed

If Aldi is able to go ahead and build a new supermarket at Martlesham it will further confirm the eastern side of Ipswich as a key retail area, says Paul Geater.

Here he looks back a the generational shift in shopping habits and how the reatil areas of Ipswich have adapted to suit our changing needs.

Two separate retail areas have developed over the last 30 years in a process that has been accelerated over the last decade – and they tell the story of the changing face of shopping.

Back in the 1980s and 1990s huge retail behemoths were seen as the way forward. Retailers believed people wanted to go on a weekly “big shop” and buy all the groceries they would need for the whole week and then forget about the drudgery of shopping.

Sainsbury’s opened one of the first superstores in the area at Warren Heath and this was followed a few years later by Tesco at Martlesham.

Since then more stores have opened, including Futura Park and Ransomes Europark, almost next to Warren Heath, and Beardmore Park at Martlesham.

Fewer people are wanting to shop at superstores – and more people are being attracted to discount retailers like Aldi.

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One big plus for Aldi could be the presence of Marks and Spencer food store nearby – many shoppers are happy to use discount stores if they know they are able to go to a specialist food store for their expensive “treats”.

The one sector that is not that well served at these retail areas is clothing – although Next does sell clothes at Martlesham and Tesco and Sainsburys have clothing ranges.

Futura Park, meanwhile, is becoming a magnet for car dealerships – Jaguar/Land Rover is already there, Audi is about to follow, and now Donalds is hoping to build a new Volvo dealership.

With John Lewis/Waitrose, and a block of other household stores, it’s not difficult to see why many Ipswich shoppers’ eyes are being turned east!