Discount update: new player and Lidl's community launch

Date : 23 March 2016

The UK discount channel has had some exciting and interesting developments in the first quarter of this year. Here we explore a new entrant in the variety discount channel and Lidl's new online community hub.

GHM!: new discounter set up by ex-Asda CEO

GMH! (Guess How Much!) aims to be a 'one-stop shop for mums', selling general merchandise, ambient grocery, and clothing from Pep & Co: Bond's other retail venture backed by South African investor, Pepkor. This new variety discount venture, also backed by Pepkor, will open its first store in Hinkley, Leicestershire. Eight to ten stores at c.10,000 sq ft are expected to open in towns across the UK over the summer. Koray Gul, also ex-Asda, will be running the chain out of a head office in Leeds. Along with Gul, Bond has taken on directors from Holland & Barrett, Poundworld and Poundstretcher; giving the new concept a strong start with experienced retail and discount veterans.

Differentiating over and above price in crowded marketplace

Bond is confident that there is room for opportunity in the discount channel, particularly as savvy shopping is the new norm. However, latest ShopperVista data indicates that variety discount players need to work harder to encourage footfall as the increasingly crowded marketplace, together with the multiples hitting back on price, means that these retailers need to differentiate their offer to give shoppers reasons to visit over and above price. Adding clothing to the mix in GHM! will differentiate this concept, but it remains to be seen what new and innovative ideas this group of retailers will bring to GHM! with their collective expertise.

Lidl: bringing 'Lidlers' together online

Also bringing something new to discount shoppers is Lidl with its new community website. Positioned as 'the home of all your favourite Lidl things', the website encourages loyal 'Lidlers' to engage with each other through products reviews and sharing hints and tips. The incentives for becoming a member include entering competitions, access to exclusive content from resident Michelin star chef, Kevin Love, and sampling new products first. Giving shoppers the chance to write product reviews shows how Lidl wants shoppers to speak for themselves about the price and quality of the products, building on Lidl's brand campaigns to improve perceptions of its offer.

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