Only one month into the new year and convenience is proving to be a magnet to the multiples.
In the UK, upmarket retailer Waitrose has announced plans to open 39 new stores in 2011, of which 29 will be in the convenience arena.
Sainsbury’s, which has already outlined plans to expand in the convenience sector, is grabbing a slice of the takeaway/sandwich shop market too with the launch of a new format, Fresh Kitchen.
Leading convenience stores have lead the field in providing hot and cold food-to-go - now the top supermarkets are getting in on the act and upping the ante. Watch this space...
Tesco is extending its convenience reach in the UK and Central Europe too. In the former, its One Stop chain is acquiring 77 stores from the Mills Group and has plans to refurbish them, introduce One Stop’s offer and bring down prices.
In the Czech Republic Tesco has acquired the Zabka and Koruna stores from Penta Investment and is expected to convert the larger Koruna stores to its Express format. Tesco is also tipped to buy Penta’s Zabka stores in Poland, which would help it to achieve a market leading position in the country.
Similar developments and trends are emerging around the world, as Don Longo highlights in his report from Insight’s Future of International Convenience Retailing event - C-store retailing goes through stages around the globe.
Growing consumer acceptance of private label in world markets is another key theme in this month’s issue, which Mintel has identified. Shoppers like private labels and don’t envisage dropping them any time soon. Technology is playing an increasingly important role for convenience retailers too but read why Jon Dunman, vice president of petrol and convenience at global technology solutions provider Torex, believes it is not a magic bullet.
Dunman also highlights future growth areas such as pay at pump and loyalty schemes and considers the promise of the 2012 Olympic Games.
Before then, take a look at the panel of judges we have lined up for the 2011 International Convenience Retailer of the Year Award. Our ‘expert eight’ have an arsenal of convenience experience in international markets and are raring to vet the best.
Fiona Briggs, Editor, Global Convenience Store Focus