Tesco attempts to reassert dominance with new store format.
Tesco launches impressive new store fit
I am a Retail Analyst at Verdict, spending the majority of my time delving into the homewares and food & grocery mar...
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Tesco has unveiled its newly refitted Watford store with an innovative layout and new sub-brands like its Harris + Hoole coffee shop among the initiatives being used to lure shoppers in. The format looks likely to prove popular, and Tesco must begin to roll it out aggressively. However, it must ensure that it retains a focus on its core food & grocery offer as this is what drives customers to its stores.
What sets the Watford store apart from the likes of Woolwich, London and Pitsea, Essex, which have already been refitted, is that this is the first store in the group that includes a Giraffe restaurant, a Harris + Hoole coffee shop and a Euphorium Bakery. Refits to smaller stores such as the Marylebone Express and Tooley Street Metro look impressive but seem to be individual bespoke refits, whereas the Watford model has the potential to be rolled out across the whole estate. The high levels of customer service, excellent visual merchandising and space planning, which for so long have been lacking at Tesco, will draw more shoppers to its stores and revitalise out-of-town shopping because of the large number of amenities.
The fresh food area dominates the shop floor, with low level fixturing making navigation around the aisles exceptionally easy. The service counters are also now next to the fresh fruit and vegetables, highlighting the focus that Tesco has placed on its core grocery business. Among the fresh fruit, for example, Tesco has also taken the opportunity to add in associated products that customers might want, like peelers and slicers. It is clear that careful planning of the fresh area has been undertaken and this will please customers, even encouraging new ones, as this section remains people’s main reason for shopping at Tesco. Previously customers had been overwhelmed by the subsidiary departments and services available, but the fresh produce area now, rightly, has pride of place.
Each non-food department has been presented as a shop within a shop. The differentiation of lighting, flooring and fixtures in each will ensure that the product is given an opportunity to stand out. The clothing department, for example, now resembles a store in itself and would not look out of place on the high street. Impressive improvements have been made to homewares, where products are out of their boxes and on display. These displays make the products look desirable and make the section reminiscent of a John Lewis store.
Tesco hopes that its larger stores will become shopping destinations following a further rollout of this refit. This will attract shoppers who in the past have been put off by poor standards. Watford is a large Extra and thus has significant space to use; Tesco must adapt this model when it refits other formats and sizes of stores, ensuring that they remain hassle-free grocery shopping destinations first and foremost.