Expansion strategy – specialist supermarket UK

Expansion strategy FRC

The challenge

A successful specialist supermarket in the UK with 800+ stores began to worry about where the growth to match the previous 10 solid years was going to come from. Although there were still plenty of gaps on the UK map, the opportunities would reduce and the complexities would increase as the missing locations were filled.

The obvious answer was to look outside the UK! But where? Every successful retailer who is considering trading outside its home market has to leverage as much as possible of its history, knowledge and product range to avoid an expensive and risky “start again syndrome”!

The strategy

We had to identify the most likely markets for the retailer’s attributes. The retailer’s positioning and strengths were clarified and a significant number of new markets was desktop tested for feasibility.

Many markets appeared favourable at first, particularly as a good portion of any successful British food retailer’s product range “borrows” many recipes from outside the UK. The markets were then ranked in order to indicate where competition was already hot and where the consumer has sufficient income to afford food complying to the high standards set for products produced for the British market.

After several overlays of many criteria and market visits, parts of the CEE region came out on top. The rapid changes in the Czech Republic and Western Slovakia over the last 10 years meant that the ordinary consumer had more income than in the past but also considerably more cost and significantly less time – all factors that drive change in the household and kitchen. As our clients had special expertise in solving the problem of value-conscious but time-poor consumers the match looked good!

The method

Test store locations were prepared, products were selected based on consumer research. Packaging was designed to be compliant with the market regulations.

Differences between UK and Czech Republic domestic habits were observed. Especially shopping frequency and store size was determined by all the factors necessary to create the product assortment and to meet the budgeted costs that the theoretical business model demanded.

Foley Retail Consulting oversaw every step of these plans to ensure the project avoided costly mistakes.

After two test stores debuted it was clear the idea would work and a team of local management was recruited to expand the business and to capitalise on the additional benefits only scale could produce.

The result

The format of the retail store retains enough of the original format to make the business very recognisable for management, staff and suppliers, thus reducing risk for all stakeholders.

However, there are enough differences to ensure the concept fits nicely to the new market. Early results are very encouraging and from all of us at Foley Retail Consulting, we are confident that based on the solid work delivered the new management team can look forward to an exciting future.