Western Europe: store concepts and private label

Date : 26 November 2019

We round up the latest news from retailers in Belgium, the Netherlands and Sweden.

Netherlands: Albert Heijn launches automated store at Schiphol Airport

After successfully piloting its new ‘plug-and-play’ store concept in Zaandam in September 2019, Albert Heijn has expanded the trial to Schiphol Airport. This will see the retailer launch its second fully automated store, on the Jan Dellaertplein, opposite the Schiphol Plaza. Albert Heijn said it is an ideal location, being one of the busiest airports in the world. The trial will run until the end of January 2020.

Thanks to cutting-edge technology, shoppers can enter the store using their debit or credit cards and sensors detect the products they pick up from the shelves. Payment is automatic, allowing shoppers to exit without checking out.

Belgium: SPAR to reopen two stores

Meanwhile, SPAR, operated by Retail Partners Colruyt Group, will open two stores in Diest and Kalken on 28 November 2019.

The 1,000 sq. m store in Diest has a larger, modernised fresh produce department. Store owner, Filip Claes, said, “The reputation of our quality fresh produce reaches far beyond Diest. We wanted to further improve on that. That’s why we installed better equipment and increased the retail area.”

Other highlights include fresh bakery products, home-made dishes, tapas foods and charcuterie and cheese platters.

The store in Kalken, also 1,000 sq. m in size, expanded the car parking to house 110 vehicles. It focuses on sustainable technologies, using geothermal heat pumps for its heating and cooling requirements. Excess heat it reused to heat the apartments located above the store.

Store owner, Philippe Serraes, commented, “We want to focus more on our fresh produce departments and create an authentic market feeling. Our bakery bakes fresh bread and cakes several times a day. Our fruit and vegetables will be presented in an even more open and attractive way.”

Another feature is the restaurant and tearoom called Margriet, named after the owner’s grandmother. It seats 60 people and will serve a single dish and its vegetarian version as well as home-made cakes and pastries.

Sweden: Coop to relaunch Xtra private label

In Sweden, Coop said it will relaunch its low-cost private label, Xtra. The line is for price conscious shoppers and comprises 250 SKUs.

As part of the relaunch, Coop will introduce a new packaging design, developed by advertising agency MadBureauet. The design is common to Coop in the Nordic countries.

Coop’s marketing manager for private labels, Maria Billow Bergendahl, commented, “Coop is now leaving the old blue-white platform and taking Xtra into a more luscious present. We want to convey that Xtra is our most affordable products. Our goal with the new design is to broaden the target group and include more customers.”

In addition, Coop said it would expand the line, adding 200 new products over the next two years. It will launch 45 new products and introduce the new packaging to 100 products in Q4 2019. In 2020, the retailer will launch a major campaign promoting the relaunch.

…As Axfood appoints new Hemköp CEO

Elsewhere in Sweden, Axfood has announced Simone Margulies will replace Thomas Gäreskog as president of Hemköp, effective 1 February 2020.

Margulies joined Axfood in 2015, currently holding the position of vice president of Dagab. In her new role, she will take responsibility for the Hemköp and Tempo banners. She will also become a member of the Axfood Executive Committee.

Commenting on the appointment, president and CEO of Axfood, Klas Balkow, said, “Simone’s broad record of experience from the food retail trade and current role at Dagab make her very suitable for the assignment.