The last couple of months have seen announcements by the top four supermarkets about plans to refurbish stores in order to reverse market share declines and provide better shopping experiences.
One reason for us picking up on this news is that research we undertook last year shows just how much some advantage there is to supermarkets that provide more pleasurable experiences for their shoppers, not only in-store, but also online, in their advertising and in other customer contact points. And over the next few months we shall be investigating some of the in-store experiences of supermarket shoppers.
The UK's biggest supermarket Tesco plans to improve the feel of 400 of its stores this year, as part of a £1bn drive to return to like-for-like growth. This drive is a significant shift from growing retail space.
Sainsbury is replicating this shift. During the first quarter of this year, Sainsbury didn’t open any new superstores, and the supermarket plans to revamp 15 to 20 stores this year – double the number it undertook in 2011. Sainsbury’s plans on investing £100 per sq ft in each store, and will give less space to frozen food and more to chilled food. It also plans on improving queue times by providing more tills.
Sainsbury’s won’t even be adding any store extensions. Sainsbury’s has used store extensions to drive like-for-like growth over the last few years. Just under two thirds of its 1.4% like-for-like growth during the first quarter of this year came from extensions. “The focus in the last three years has been to do extensions. We will now do less extensions and some refurbishment,” Sainsbury CEO Justin King recently stated
This doesn’t mean any new stores. King believes that demand for convenience will continue to grow, and Sainsbury’s plans on opening 75 new convenience stores during 2012. King plans on continuing to open one to two new stores each every week for “many, many years”.
ASDA has been renovating its stores for at least the last three years, aiming to overhaul 39 stores during 2012, which up from 32 in 2011 and 30 in 2010. Morrisons too is smartening up its stores, with a focus on its Fresh Format which, similar to Tesco, will provide extra space for fresh produce.