Convenience store evolution in Germany gathers momentum

Date : 29 May 2014

As SSP, the Travel Food Experts, and supermarket group Edeka rebrand 40 of SSP’s own-brand Point outlets to Spar Express, it’s time to look at the broader c-store activity Germany.

SSP and Edeka to rebrand stores

SSP and Edeka have announced they will rebrand 40 of SSP’s Point stores to Spar Express. The rebranding is to be completed by autumn 2014 and will include the introduction of an all-day concept, Spar Express 24/7, as well as the remodelling of its flagship stores. SSP DACH (Germany, Austria & Switzerland) & FRABEL (France, Belgium & Netherlands) CEO Cornelius Everke said “The need for a local, high quality food offer is growing among commuters”.

SSP already operates 11 Spar Express shops at stations and the company believes the convenience sector has huge potential in Germany, with stations providing a high catchment area for consumers.

German consumer habits slowly changing

For decades German consumers have been price orientated shoppers, yet, habits are changing. The German market has been saturated by discounters which excelled in the recession, but German consumers are seeking more than just price. Retailers have recognised this trend and are trying to change consumer perceptions in-store.

Rewe’s activities reflecting consumer shift

Rewe has been testing various concepts, recently, as part of its evolving strategy. It believes in creating an emotional connection with customers and providing a pleasant shopping experience versus the minimalist approach seen in discount stores. Rewe has tested different formats convenience formats, such as its Rewe to go store and its consumer foodservice-oriented Made by Rewe banner.

Click here to view IGD’s visit to Rewe to go in Cologne, Germany.

In 2014, Rewe is testing its ‘Rewe to go’ format in partnership with service station Aral. It is testing the format at 10 service stations and the pilot will last for one year. Its offering will consist of up to 1,200 fresh products along with an extensive line of convenience goods.

Early in 2014, Alain Caparros, CEO of Rewe Group, announced its privatisation strategy, encouraging executives to take control of individual stores and provide customers with a more regional produce in-store. If extended to convenience stores this would provide new competition in the channel and spur growth.

Further growth expected for convenience channel

The convenience channel will continue to offer growth opportunities for retailers in Germany and as operators begin to target shopper missions, especially food-for-now and food-on-the-go solutions, so the format will continue to evolve. The expansion of SPAR and Rewe’s trials underline how there is more to come from the market, making an interesting country to watch.