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Learn Convenience from Carrefour Express

Jumbo trolleys are on their way out. Two-thirds of Britons now nip to a supermarket more than once a day, and one in 10 people decide what to buy for an evening meal just before they eat it – often stopping to shop for it on the way home from work. Longer opening hours and more convenience stores have combined with a drive among shoppers to waste less and stop themselves “over-buying” to a new trend called “as and when shopping”.

This is an extract from a recent article in the Guardian Online written by Rebecca Smithers and taking the learning’s from the Waitrose Food & Drink Report 2017. It goes on to quote Rob Collins MD Waitrose detailing how the supermarket is adjusting its offering to respond to changing consumer buying trends. Consistent with an article I wrote recently about spontaneous shopping (23/09/17).

This reminds me of a hypermarket project I was part of many years ago. Ahead of the store opening we embarked on a study tour of Europe to learn best practice in this trading format. The undoubted leader and top exponent of the format was Carrefour. We took many learning points from their operation and delivered a successful opening, achieving hitherto unheard of sales volumes.

The move by consumers to little and often is well understood by the industry with the Waitrose report contributing further understanding of this shift. Great news for small stores but the range and service must be on the money.  Carrefour, founded in 1960 and once exclusively a big box operator is one of the biggest retailers in the world.  They have managed to successfully adapt their retail model to a convenience size right across Europe. They have found ways to merchandise a comprehensive and targeted convenience range into very small spaces. In some cases around 600 square feet. They do this by keeping aisles tight and building gondolas up high. They are strong on fresh food and they use every available piece of floor and shelf space to sell from – nothing is wasted. Their convenience stores are highly productive and once again they have set the bar high in their chosen format. I would recommend a short trip to Spain, France or Poland and take a look at their Express stores. This is a great model to emulate and you will not be disappointed.

David Gilroy 

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