Big retailers are downsizing, with supermarket brand IGA and furniture retailer Ikea both offering smaller-scale versions of their stores.
IGA has announced that it will open and rebrand 400 stores across the country as IGA Local Grocers – a small-format supermarket under 500 square meters.
“We try to accommodate it as much as possible, so that customers don’t have to go to the back of the store for the things they need,” said store owner Aba Elyas.
Elyas owns IGA Local Grocer’s newest store in the Melbourne suburb of Cremorne.
“There are no bulky product bins that get in the way when they (customers) come in that they have to go around,” Elyas said.
“It’s super easy to set up, easy to find, and super convenient for them.”
The store is located in a new business center filled with workers, so the layout has been designed to accommodate the customer base.
“When they come in, there are a lot of take-out lunch options,” Elyas said.
“There’s pastries, there’s curry, you know, really good healthy salad options, sandwiches that we make in store.
“We have I think 30 or 40 percent of the immediate neighborhood, all of whom come here at least once or twice a day for coffee in the morning, to grab a bite for lunch, or to grab something when they’re done working. “
Similar to the small supermarkets offered by Woolworths, Coles and Aldi, IGA started working on its concept before the pandemic.
Danielle Jenkinson, who is the general manager of retail at Metcash, owner of IGA, said: “We first saw the trend before the start of the pandemic that people were making smaller and more frequent shops. .
“And that was something that was really emerging.
“You can expect a small store for starters and reduced ranges.
“But the essentials are going to be in those stores.”
The store focuses on stocking local producers, as well as supporting other local businesses.
Hannah Hughes owns Hughes & Co Barbers across the road.
“I run a hair salon just across the road so we come here for all our supplies, lunch, coffee, all the last minute things we need,” she said.
“I think because it’s smaller, they seem to have the best of all products.
“So the best brands and really fresh products.”
It’s not just supermarkets that are downsizing, large retailers are also moving towards bespoke boutiques.
Josh Lloyd, the manager of Ikea’s new plan and order point in Melbourne’s Highpoint shopping centre, said “you won’t find meatballs” in his store.
“A normal Ikea is 25,000 to 30,000 square meters. This one is about 350 square meters. So it’s a super, super small footprint,” Lloyd said.
Ikea’s latest offering allows customers to design and order products from the range, which are then delivered to their homes or available for collection at designated locations.
“So it’s about helping customers with those more complex purchases, like kitchens and cabinets,” Lloyd explained.
“Given our size, you won’t get lost in this store. There is no maze.
“It’s very simple and straightforward and our colleagues are there to help customers along the way.”
The Swedish furniture giant has plans for similar stores around the world.
“That’s step number one, so we’re going to learn from this site and test and try different things and input from other markets around the world,” Lloyd said.
As retail trends change, it is likely that smaller stores will continue to appear in high and medium density areas.
“This is a great example of large supermarkets and big box retailers responding to emerging social trends,” said Professor Gary Mortimer.
Mortimer is a retail expert from Queensland University of Technology.
“Having a smaller format store definitely allows you to curate a range for a particular demographic or suburban profile,” he said.
“It means manipulating the ranges, putting together different ranges that could cater to different communities, tastes and tastes.
“Certainly with busy consumers, busy families, the notion of takeout, in, out and convenience is certainly growing.”
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