Store Review

REWE City Köln

Super Market

Going against conventional rules, this grocery retailer delights with eye-catching attractions for an extra special retail experience.

Price competition may have come to dominate the UK grocery sector, but German retailer REWE competes on different terms. This concept store goes against every conventional rule for a major supermarket group. Fun, colourful and playful, it’s in a class of its own and takes grocery retailing to another level. Price is certainly not a key feature.

A large tractor positioned centrally in the fruit and vegetable
 section serves as a reminder of the humble beginnings of the 
mushroom. Meanwhile, produce is displayed between wicker 
and hay to spread the message that the retailer’s products 
are freshly picked and ‘straight from the farm’. Around the
 store there is further emphasis on the freshness of the food,
 which is delivered through striking POS. A change of pace is created in the aisles with larder style cupboards used to highlight specific offers or product categories. Overall, this grocery shop is more like a theme park than a supermarket.

Fresh approach

Yes, it is a little kitsch and a bit cheesy (and meaty, fishy,
 bready, and fruity), but there’s no denying that it’s an interesting departure. For big operators, where ‘mainstream and volume’
 are the drivers, finding a market position beyond ‘quality’ and price that allows retailers to provide an added value experience and still make fat profits is the holy grail.

Whether this formula proves to be a winner with consumers for REWE, only time will tell. But, when brands are struggling to find new ways to engage shoppers and cut through the noise, doing things differently (even if you don’t get it right first time, and a need a few rounds 
of refinement) is surely to be applauded.

By Karl McKeever

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