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Troubled bakery chain Patisserie Valerie has been saved from collapse in a management buyout backed by Irish private equity firm, Causeway Capital Partners.

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Each year we visit hundres of convenience stores and we’re seeing similarities in the challenges and opportunities faced by retailers worldwide - however, how they react varies widely.

By understanding global trends in convenience retailing and how retailers are responding through innovation, manufacturers, service providers and retailers can gain inspiration to bring new ways of working to their home region.

Here we list the five trends we see having the biggest impact on convenience retail globally in 2019 and beyond.  Full report available to Retail Analysis subscribers, click here for more details.

1. Transformational tech

No matter where you are in the world, convenience stores that utilise technology to develop their supply chain and their proposition to customers will be better equipped to win in the future. 

Whether the aim is to improve the speed and efficiency of shopping, enhance shopper engagement or make better use of data to hone the customer proposition, convenience retailers are grasping the new and exciting opportunities offered to them by modern technology.

Examples we are seeing of transformational tech in action include cashless stores, automated kiosks, delivery by robot and interactive in-store digital displays.  Many of these are currently only on trial in a handful of sites but we expect to see these becoming used more widely during the year, as well as new tech-based iniatives emerging.

2. Encouraging experimentation

In many markets, the established pillars of convenience stores - tobacco, confectionary and newsprint – are no longer reliable footfall drivers. To fill the gap, retailers are looking to growing categories such as fresh, food-to-go and evening meal solutions, as well as tapping into the increasing spending power of younger shoppers.

Key to success is building shoppers’ awareness and trust whilst reducing the risk of trial so that shoppers feel free to experiment – be that with a new brand, range or choice of store.

Creating the right in-store environment, co-branding products, developing concepts that allow personalisation and premiumising own label ranges are all ways retailers are enticing their shoppers to try something new.

3. Convenience shopping with a conscience

After images of seas full of plastic circulated the globe in 2018, we saw a step-change in consumers’ and businesses’ attitudes to issues affecting our planet.

From sustainability to a wider trend towards more socially conscious ways of doing business, we are seeing an increase in initiatives focussed on caring for the world we live in at both global and local levels.  Momentum behind this movement will continue to build during 2019.

4. C-store mission control

Increased use of technology is giving convenience retailers access to a vastly greater pool of data than ever before.  Those who use this information to better understand shopper needs are best placed to align their proposition with today’s key shopper missions.

As a result, we’re seeing more niche fascias targeting particular missions, as well as clearer in-store zoning to guide shoppers quickly to the products they want. And whilst ‘top-up’ remains important, the move to online means retailers need to give the shopper new reasons to visit their stores. Here we are seeing convenience stores transform into food-to-go hubs and leisure mission destinations.  We expect these mission targeted formats become even more sophisticated in the coming year.

5. Partnership potential

Keeping up with the rapid pace of change in the convenience retail landscape is a challenge for retailers across all regions. Increasingly, businesses are working together to access new markets or locations, attract new shoppers to stores and grow new category sales - at speed.

While partnerships may take many forms, the right choice of partner is key to success.  We have already seen convenience stores team up with manufacturers, food-to-go specialists, discounters and service providers, but we expect to see more new and surprising partnerships emerge during the year.

Want to know more?

To see more examples of how retailers are responding to the challenges and opportunities in the convenience channel, visit our convenience hub page on Retail Analysis.

Don't miss our exciting new event, IGDLive, to hear from leading retailers and suppliers shaping the future of UK convenience retail.

 

IGD Live 2019

6-7 November, London

Early bird offer! IGD Live combines our channel events under one roof, giving delegates the opportunity to attend a channel specific area, or to create their own bespoke programme.

Find out more »

 

Germany-based Metro has reported its first quarter results saying total sales fell by 0.6% to €8.0bn. Metro said in local currency terms sales had risen by 2.1%, with the fall in sales ‘due to the negative development of the Russian and Turkish currency’. However, the company was able to report that like-for-like sales had risen by 2.3% during the period, with it noting this was ‘mainly driven by Eastern Europe (excluding Russia) and Asia’.

Challenges in Germany and Russia overshadow results

Metro said in its home market total sales fell by 1.3%, which was affected by the closure of a store, while like-for-like sales contracted by 0.2%. In Western Europe (excluding Germany) Metro noted that total sales increased by 1.2%, while like-for-like sales rose by 1.0%, aided by a ‘ strong development in France, Italy and Spain’.

In Eastern Europe (excluding Russia) Metro was able to report that total sales, in local currency terms, grew by 6.3%, while like-for-like sales rose by 6.4%. The company said that in the region ‘almost all countries… contributed to this [result]’.

Metro said in the key country of Russia, total sales declined by 2.8%, in local currency terms, while like-for-like sales decreased by 2.4%. In volume terms, though, Metro said it had enjoyed an increase in sales of 3%. Despite the contractions, Metro said the results were positive and underlined how they had ‘benefited from an attractive pricing model as well as the expansion of the franchise format Fasol’.

In Asia, total sales, in local currency terms, rose by 6.9%, while like-for-like sales rose 5.9%. As part of the results announcement, Metro confirmed it was considering strategic options for its operations in China. It has been previously suggested that it could sell a majority stake in the business to a local company.

Real disposal continues against a weakening backdrop

Metro said its Real hypermarket business saw a slight decrease in like-for-like sales, by 0.6%, while total sales fell by 1.7%, affected by two temporary store closures. It also reported that its online business had shown ‘a dynamic development’, with its gross merchandise value rising by 65% to €171m.

Metro said it expected to complete the disposal of Real as a whole, standalone business within the next two to four months. Metro’s chief executive, Olaf Koch, said the disposal process was being challenged by competition regulations, but non-binding offers were expected soon, with a binding offer to come later.

We round up the latest developments from leading Nordic retailers as they invest in supermarkets, convenience, online and foodservice.

Norway: NorgesGruppen’s Meny launches new Gourmet and Urban banners

NorgesGruppen’s MENY supermarket banner is launching two new concepts; Meny Gourmet and Meny Urban.

Meny Gourmet will be the larger store concept which aims to create “good dining experiences for customers”. The stores will focus on exclusive goods, manned vegetable dishes and cheese and meats. Meny CC Vest, one of Meny’s largest stores, will pilot the new concept.

Meny Urban will be smaller stores located in city centres. The stores may be as small as 500 sq. m to help Meny to establish itself. They will sell take-away hot food and drinks as well as groceries.

The retailer has identified 15 existing sites that would suit the Meny Gourmet concept, and seven that would suit the MENY Urban Concept. MENY will also look to open new stores with these concepts in mind too.

Despite this, around 200 Meny stores will remain regular stores, with the option to choose items from the Urban and Gourmet concepts where appropriate

Commenting on the new store concepts, Vegard Kjuus, head of Meny, said, “We see that people are more happy about food, they travel more, enjoy eating out and want good take away solutions. It is also where there is greatest growth at the moment. While a mall may have a growth of perhaps one percent a year, a restaurant or coffee shop may have seven percent growth. It says something about the possibilities for Menu Urban”.

Sweden: Reitangruppen’s Pressbyrån to open unmanned convenience concept…

Meanwhile, Reitangruppen’s convenience format Pressbyrån is launching a new unstaffed convenience concept. Stores will offer a range of ready-packed products, including fresh pastries and sandwiches, among others. Initially these will be opened in offices but Pressbyrån hopes the concept will be rolled out to other locations besides offices in the long term.

CEO Mariette Kristenson said, “Based on each situation, we will be able to optimise the supply according to that customer's demand, it can be anything from hygiene items to a unique magazine range”.

…As it acquires Caffeine Roasters in the Baltics

In related news Reitan Convenience has acquired the coffee chain Caffeine Roasters after gaining regulatory approval from the Lithuanian competition authorities.

Caffeine Roasters, established in 2007, is the largest coffee chain in the Baltics. As part of the acquisition, Reitangruppen will gain all 60 of Caffeine Roasters’ coffee shops in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Commenting on the acquisition, CEO Johannes Sangnes said, “All formalities are now in order, and we look forward to starting work on further developing Caffeine Roaster's solid position in the Baltics. Caffeine Roasters is one of the strongest brands for coffee shops in the Baltics, and they are known for their quality coffee and good service”.

Elsewhere in Europe, retailers in the UK and Ireland are also investing in coffee. IGD Retail Analysis subscribers, can access our exclusive insight presentation on
“Coffee-to-go in convenience stores” here.

Sweden: Bergendahls’ Eko targets 37 stores

In Sweden, Bergendahls’ is planning to expand its Eko (not organic) supermarket concept with two to three store openings planned a year. The concept aims to offer leading brands at low prices and currently operates five stores in Borås, Fjälkinge, Kalmar, Malmö and Västerås. It is set to open an additional store in Örebro by the end of February 2019. The long-term goal for Eko is to open 37 stores in the country.

In an interview with Swedish trade press, CEO Ted Berggren said it will target stores of over 7,000 sq. m situated in locations with more than 80,000 residents, although locations with 100,000 – 120,000 are ideal. Product ranges include seasonal, household and cleaning products, flowers, toys, confectionary and hair and body care. The store also features Lekia, a flower shop, and Hemmakväll, a lighting shop.

Finland: S Group helps local suppliers sell online

Elsewhere, Finland’s S Group has announced it will launch a pilot to help local suppliers sell their products through S Group’s online store.  Orders will then be delivered to shoppers via their local Prisma pickup point. Local suppliers determine their prices while S Group charges commission. The pilot will be trialled in 2019 in Uusimaa, Pirkanmaa and Satakunta.

Antti Oksa, director of selection at S Group, explained, “We want to provide our customers with the opportunity to buy food directly from producers by combining shopping with the online food order. At the same time, a new channel of interest for producers will open up for other direct sales”.

The direct sales model has been developed with Mtech Digital Solutions.

Want to keep up with the latest developments from leading retailers including NorgesGruppen, Reitangruppen, Bergendahls and S Group? Sign up for IGD’s free Retail Analysis international newsletter.

Presentations

14/02/2019
Despite its heritage in large format stores, Jumbo is building an innovative convenience format that targets convenience missions, but also meets a wider range of shopper needs. Jumbo City builds synergies with La Place to elevate the bakery, coffee and smoothie offer, combining this with the retailer's traditional strength in core grocery ranges to create a store that meets multiple missions.
13/02/2019
Delhaize's Fresh Atelier format provides inspiration on how retailers can target an on the move and convenience-oriented shoppers in high footfall, urban locations. See in-store to understand how the retailer has balanced a wide range of food-to-go options, but looked to maintain efficiency and profitability.
12/02/2019
Health and wellness is a major focus for many in food-to-go. Here we share some of the key trends and best practice examples we've seen.
12/02/2019
We recently visited Lidl Dunstable. Read here how the retailer is showcasing fresh and appealing to families with its 2.0 format.
11/02/2019
As Lidl continues its rapid expansion across Europe and the US, it is looking to build stronger relationship with its shoppers. As Lidl invests in its stores and expands the ranges and services it offers, identify your opportunities with the retailer as we explore the latest strategic priorities that will influence its future performance.
View all presentations

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We've developed a single, universal methodology for calculating food and consumer goods retail data, supported by our programme of primary and secondary research. This makes Retail Analysis the most reliable and robust source available for data of this type. 

If you have a specific business challenge or training requirement we can put together something just for you.