Brick-and-mortar retailers are opening smaller-scale locations packed with technology designed to meet the needs of shoppers in cities. Sainsbury’s, in one case, unveiled a new c-store format in London called On The Go to deliver “big innovation in small spaces for local shoppers” and used data to create the Mansion House store to meet the needs of busy city workers.
The retailer said that “almost 90%” of the selections in the store were chosen to meet the needs of Mansion House customers. Top-performing premium and specialist brands from the company’s supermarkets like Leon Grocery and Tony’s Chocolonely, along with fresh food and floral products, have been brought to the store’s shelves. Customers can use the SmartShop mobile app, and “rapid exit checkouts offer a quicker experience if shoppers choose to use a till,” the company said.
“Convenience is a growing part of our business and we have greater capability than ever to truly tailor Local stores to local needs — across our products, formats, services and operations,” Sainsbury’s Director of Commercial Operations Graham Biggart said in an announcement. “Our new On the Go Mansion House Local is a great example, bringing a new kind of convenience to busy local workers with limited time and delivering the curated range and fast experience that will enable them to get exactly what they want at pace. We’re confident this format will further strengthen our market-leading position in convenience.”
Nine additional On the Go stores are to come to London, Glasgow, Bristol and Edinburgh over the months to come. Sainsbury’s also said it has more than 130 Local stores in busy urban areas that could be made into On the Go locations. The company noted that the stores harness a rising trend of convenient food to go, as the British to-go food market is projected to be worth £23.4 billion by 2024 from £18.5 billion last year per IGD.
Retailers in other parts of the world are also driving innovation with convenience store concepts: In the United States, 7-Eleven is testing the cashierless store concept with a 700-square-feet location at its Irving, Texas headquarters. The store taps into predictive technology in addition to algorithms to be able to recognize individual persons. It has an assortment of all of 7-Eleven’s flagship products such as groceries, snacks and drinks, among other products
From 7-Eleven to Sainsbury’s, retailers are debuting new concepts to bring technology and product innovation to small-format stores.
In Other Brick-and-Mortar News
SHOWFIELDS will open a new location in Miami in 2020. The concept, which bills itself as a “next-generation” store that invites customers to “discover new and emerging brands,” will come to South Florida in May. The inaugural New York City store saw more than 250,000 customers overall last year, and data showed they spent an average of 33 minutes in the location.
The new store will be opening at South Beach’s Lincoln Road. It will feature a bevy of retailers like the Each and Every natural beauty brand and the Daniel Wellington watch brand alongside as many as 40 to 50 other retailers. The experimental aspects of SHOWFIELDS are to include a theater for live performances and a speakeasy-style bar, among other features.
And Simon Property Group Inc. intends to take over control of Taubman Centers Inc. Simon would pay $52.50 in cash per share for Taubman’s shares, which would give it control over the subsidiary of Taubman that owns all of the firm’s retail property interests. Taubman, which is based in Michigan, manages, owns or leases 26 malls in the United States, as well as Asia, with the inclusion of Denver’s Cherry Creek Shopping Center and the Detroit-area Twelve Oaks Mall.
Simon, for its part, controlled a stake in or owned 204 U.S. properties as of Sept. 30 of last year, with the inclusion of Florida’s Dadeland Mall and Boston’s Copley Place. The Taubman family will sell approximately one-third of its ownership interest in Taubman and will still be a 20 percent owner in the operating subsidiary of its eponymous real estate firm.
And Walmart de Mexico’s sales are looking up, with a 2.7 percent rise at locations open for more than a year over the same time last year. The firm said its total sales had jumped 4.2 percent since last year. It opened another 134 stores in Mexico last year and grew its footprint there by around 5 percent. Most of the new stores are part of the Bodega Aurerra chain.
To keep tabs on the latest retail trends, check next week’s Retail Pulse.