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a large self-service store dealing in staple goods, particularly foodstuffs; one of the modern forms of capitalist commerce. The first supermarkets appeared in the USA (1930), where they became widespread after World War II. In the 1960’s, more than 10 percent of all food stores in the USA were supermarkets, accounting for 70 percent of the total food trade. In the countries of Western Europe, supermarkets spread rapidly in the 1960’s and mid-1970’s.
Supermarkets have large selling floors and a diverse assortment of goods. They are usually located either in the center of residential areas or near highways in the suburbs. Most are owned by large retail companies called chain stores. Supermarkets are noted for their high sales volume.
In the socialist countries, large self-service stores dealing in staple goods have been built during the 1960’s and 1970’s. These stores are called universamy in the USSR and Kaufhallen in the German Democratic Republic.
(Russian, universam), a large store selling foods and household merchandise. In a supermarket, all items are prepackaged and ready for sale and are stocked on open shelves or in open cases.
Supermarkets first appeared in the USA in 1930. In the 1960’s they became popular in Western Europe. They first appeared in the socialist countries in Czechoslovakia in 1961. The first supermarket in the USSR was opened in Leningrad in 1970; by Jan. 1, 1976, there were 151 in the country.
In the USSR, supermarkets are located in separate buildings or in buildings attached to other types of stores or to apartment complexes. The main floor space has an area of not less than 400 sq m and is usually on the same level as any secondary rooms. There is a single check-out area. A covered unloading space is provided for delivery of goods. Supermarkets are located in residential areas and serve customers living within walking distance, that is, within approximately 0.5 km. The amount of floor space in a supermarket depends on the size of the population served. In an area with 9,000–13,000 inhabitants, the main floor area is 1,000 sq m; for 14,000–18,000 inhabitants, it is 1,500 sq m; and for over 19,000 inhabitants, it is 2,000 or more sq m.
Supermarkets are highly advanced marketing enterprises, and they make use of the latest technological aids. They usually include a department for placing home-delivery orders, a cafeteria, and a collection point for recycled bottles and jars. Supermarkets have potential for long-range development, inasmuch as they permit a concentration of different types of consumer goods in one place; such an arrangement saves the customer time, improves service to the public, and increases the economic efficiency of the retail marketing network. Supermarkets offer maximum convenience to the customer because they provide reliable quantities of diverse goods.
V. P. NIKOLAEVA