BHS is making its entry into the convenience store market with the opening of six food shops within existing department stores.
Despite the high level of competition in the market, not only from the supermarkets giants but from increasingly popular value retailers such as Aldi, CEO Darren Topp believes that BHS’s relationship with wholesaler Booker means the stores will have “a plethora of products that we can offer at a competitive price.”
Bookers will provide and source all of BHS’s food products, including Bookers’ own value ranges Euro Shopper and Happy Shopper. This is part of BHS’s greater strategy to appeal to shoppers on a stretched budget – each store will also contain a £1 aisle, for example.
Topp cited that footfall in the six department stores had doubled overnight as a result of opening the shops. According to feedback from customers in recent years, there has been overwhelming approval for the concept of BHS selling convenience food and improving its restaurants.
He also addressed the potential competition from fellow department chain Marks & Spencer: “M&S has a good food offer but is focused on its own branded products whereas we will have the major brands.”
The retail boss reiterated the importance of the value aspect of what BHS will offer, labelling Marks & Spencer as well established but “not cheap.”
The ambition to branch into convenience food has been long held at BHS. The approval came following Retail Acquisitions purchase of the chain.
“Food is an integral part of the BHS turnaround plan and Dominic,” the frontman of the Retail Acquisitions consortium, “saw the benefit of entering the market.”
The department store chain plans to have 20 such stores open by the end of October, and has planning consent for 140 convenience stores within its existing estate of 171 department outlets.