Quick change to Quickstop for Budgens

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Retailing, Convenience store

Budgens has rolled out the first of its new-look convenience stores
under the Quickstop fascia, with all 33 of its Budgens Express
stores set to follow suit in the near future. But with bigger
players such as Tesco and Sainsbury moving into the convenience
sector, Quickstop's success is far from guaranteed.

With interest in the convenience store sector of the British food retail market increasing steadily after high profile acquisitions or agreements by major players such as Co-op, Tesco and Sainsbury, now it is the turn of one of the smaller food retailers to make its move.

Late last month, Budgens​ launched the first of its new Quickstop convenience stores in the southern coastal town of Brighton. The new store was converted from a Budgens Express outlet, and the company said that all 33 Budgens Express stores will eventually be converted to the new banner.

The Quickstop sub-brand has been identified for those Budgens stores where customers require a high degree of convenience foods, 24 hours a day, according to the company, and as a result, the offer at these stores focuses on confectionery, soft drinks, newspapers and fresh food to go - items most likely to be bought on impulse.

The new store is also the first operated by the Budgens group to serve Costa coffee, and the convenience food to go range includes hot sandwiches, roast chicken and freshly baked pastries, pies and sausage rolls to cater for the high level of commuters and passing trade.

Flexibility is key to the Quickstop format, Budgens said, and ranges will be tailored to an individual store's location and to specific local demand.

Budgens' chief executive, Martin Hyson, commented: "The Brighton store was the ideal candidate for our first Quickstop conversion and we're confident of positive results. The typical customer is looking for fast food solutions, night and day, and we aim to provide round-the-clock choice, quality and fast, efficient service."

Budgens acquired its mainly London-based Budgens Express convenience stores from 7-Eleven in 1997, although it also operates a number of other smaller convenience-style stores on petrol station forecourts and with independent store operators under the Budgens Local fascia.

But will the new-look stores be a success? According to market analysts Datamonitor​, the convenience store format was not a success when initially introduced in the UK, but it has become more popular in recent years as retailers have learned its strengths and weaknesses.

"When done well, convenience stores succeed because of three main drivers - the growing number of singletons, the increasing amount of time spent on the road, and more spontaneous social lives, which demand greater flexibility from people,"​ said Datamonitor.

"However, convenience stores are not, as was originally imagined, the preserve of young, mobile, socially active professionals. C2DE (blue collar) consumers actually represent over 60 per cent of the overall market for convenience stores. To cater for this group, Budgens (and other convenience chains) will have to focus on offering price savings, rather than simply charging a premium for convenience."

Datamonitor added that the convenience store sector still offered retailers a major chance to expand their market share and offer a more complete service to their customers." However, the growing attention that major supermarkets such as Sainsbury's and Tesco's are paying to the segment will translate into the rapid development of a highly competitive marketplace. Budgens will need to carve out a niche that does not rely merely on convenience if it wants to ensure long-term success."

Related topics: Market Trends

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