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The changing face of supermarkets

Optimising Convenience

The retail sector has seen a wealth of changes over the last few decades and almost all of them have been geared towards increasing convenience for the shopper.

When grocery shops first emerged, such as Sainsbury’s (1869), they were small, counter service retailers located in the heart of the High Street. When new retailers like Morrisons (1958) opened their very first self service stores, they too were situated on town and village High Streets, making them as easily accessible and as convenient as the original greengrocers.

However, not too long after, as communities started to grow and consumer demand for more products in one place increased, these small stores expanded and larger warehouse-type stores started to emerge on the outskirts of cities and towns. Their cheap prices and abundance of products made them extremely popular, leaving the small independent high street stores out in the cold.

In recent months the consumer will have started to notice the rise of the concession store (store-within-a-store), a further move by large retailers to make shopping a convenience.

The changing face of supermarkets

Concession Stores

The idea of a store-within-a-store is being taken to the next level by the likes of Sainsbury’s who have announced plans to open 250 Argos concessions in its supermarket stores.

The move is a bid to take on competitors such as Amazon and other low cost rivals, offering consumers the ease of ordering online and picking up in the supermarket store whilst doing their food shop: a model benefiting many retailers.

Argos boss John Rogers said: “It’s not just about the Argos sales that we’ve seen go up, but Argos customers come into our stores and they also pick up a pint of milk and a sandwich.” (BBC News)

Sainsbury’s are also looking at ways to make their supermarkets mimic the convenience of smaller stores for those looking to get in and out with just the essentials. It’s something known as “mission-based shopping” and involves putting food-to-go items, alcohol, bakery items and self-checkouts together near the entrance of the store.

Additionally, building multiple checkout options, to accommodate a range of different shoppers, including basket self checkouts, trolley self checkouts and ‘SmartShop’ checkouts.

According to the Institute of Grocery Distribution “sales at convenience stores are expected to rise by 17% over the next five years while larger stores are set to see a 2.9% decline,” so it’s no wonder brands are doing all they can to make their shoppers’ experience that much more convenient.

Convenient Segregation

In order for the changes to these stores to be successful, i.e. bring in the level of sales desired, it’s important that the stores themselves remain at optimum capacity during fit out. This is where a convenient hoarding and partitioning system and experienced supplier comes into place.

When a store refurbishment, refresh or concession development is required, Westgate’s Hoardfast system provides a quick and clean to install partition. The tongue and groove click-together system is held in stock so can be delivered next day and out of hours as standard.

The popular PVC panel has been used in stores including Marks & Spencers, Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Debenhams, B&Q and many more. Another benefit to the stores is that store branding and customer message graphics can be applied to the panels.

Short term hire is available on our recommended free-standing PVC range which provides a clean public face and smart appearance that is consistent and unobtrusive for the customer.

Panels are also available in fire rated options to adhere to any health and safety regulations or with acoustic options where minimising noise disruption is key. We also offer a range of weighted support options for high traffic areas, where stability is paramount.

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