Tesco is to stop selling music and films in its supermarkets by the end of this month as it reacts to changing shopping habits.
Entertainment aisles have already been cleared in some stores, with Tesco expected to replace racks of CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays with home furnishings. Computer games will continue to be sold.
The changes come amid a dramatic shift in how people buy entertainment, with the shift to streaming accelerated by the pandemic.
Last year, UK sales of physical entertainment products dived 18.5% to just over £1bn as digital revenues rose by 8.3% to £8.7bn, more than the entire market was worth just two years ago, according to the Entertainment Retailers Association.
A Tesco spokesperson said: “As more customers move towards digital entertainment, over the last month we have begun to phase out some products in our entertainment range, focusing instead on ranges where we see the highest demand from customers such as homeware and outdoor products.”
Sainsbury’s made a similar move out of physical media last year, clearing out its final stocks of CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays over the festive period.
It comes years after the likes of Woolworths, Blockbuster, Our Price and Virgin Megastores disappeared from high streets.
HMV is now the UK’s only large-scale entertainment retailer, with more than 100 outlets after being rescued from administration in 2019, which led to the closure of about a fifth of its stores.
Asda and Morrisons both said they had no plans to stop selling CDs and DVDs.
Bryan Roberts, a retail analyst at Shopfloor Insights, said the changes were also linked to cost savings for retailers.
“People are consuming entertainment in different ways – such as through streaming,” he said. “These products are a massive faff in terms of the supply chain and replenishing shelves and they are quite a low [profit margin] part of the store so homewares are viewed as a better bet.”
The latest change comes as Tesco and other supermarkets tighten up their operations and strip out costs amid surging inflation on their main grocery goods.
Rising energy bills, petrol costs and higher prices on all kinds of household goods have put increased focus on family budgets so that supermarkets are battling to hold down prices to win over shoppers.
Tesco, already the UK’s biggest supermarket, won market share over the key Christmas period partly by matching the price of key items to discounter Aldi while offering a much broader choice of products.
This week it has moved to cling on to that advantage with further cost cuts, including closing its nascent discounter chain Jack’s and ditching night shifts in dozens of stores, leading to the loss of 1,600 jobs.
Tesco has also scaled down its in store bakeries and closed its deli and meat counters to redeploy staff elsewhere.