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New 'human scale' Tesco Extra format increases sales

Tesco’s latest Extra hypermarket store format is delivering substantially increased profits according to Swedish design group BLINK, which worked on the project with Tesco’s in-house team and corporate identity group Wolff Olins.

The format was introduced in a refurbished store that opened in Swansea, Wales, in June 2017. The design brief called for a store that moved away from a ‘big, bold and cold’ store to create one that was ‘big, bold and homely’.

“Tesco is a big corporation, and the stores are very large, but that will not change any time soon,” according to BLINK, “So Tesco has to turn that fact into an explainable and ownable advantage to make customers like Tesco for what it is.” The store was called on to support five strategic pillars: Brand, Value, Quality & Freshness, Service & Helpfulness, and Convenience.

Tactics used in-store include adding a layer of quality communication to value messages, and bulky promotions introduced to disrupt shopping journeys. Bilingual signage in this store provides some messages in English and Welsh. 

Staff interaction is used to create a narrative around food craftsmanship. Product categories such as bread have seen dramatic increases in turnover.

Fresh produce is used to set a tone for the store as a whole, while a ‘purchase help system’ is used to suggest curated customer journeys and to aid shopper missions. A broad variety of fixtures and displays is used to break up spaces and sightlines.

A café/community room has been provided to create a contemporary community centre.

The design agency sought to provide a human scale to both the architecture of the store and to its tone of voice in communications. The format aims to create different visual tempos around the store, using varied typography to further define spaces and objectives.

Omnichannel services – such as click-and-collect, mobile self-scan and interactive screens are integrated into the store.

An expanded hot takeaway food offer includes whole chickens, chicken portions, pastries, ribs and pizzas, while specialist counters for products such as fish are more open and informal than in previous store formats.

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