Shell UK will be the first petrol retailer to open a convenience store without a petrol forecourt.
The store, bearing its forecourt shop brand name Shell Select, will open in the Strand in London this summer.
It will compete with everything from Tesco Metro to the Budgens-owned B2 and local stores in an attempt to snatch a greater share of the UK convenience sector, valued at 15.4bn by the Institute of Grocery Distribution.
Mike Harle, Shell retail development manager for UK and Ireland, says the emphasis will be on fresh food in the 24-hour store.
He adds: “We will attempt to attract the local community and tourists by providing a wide-ranging food service, local emergency groceries and newspapers.”
The Select shop is a pilot store for Shell, which wants to test the potential of the brand in standalone convenience retailing to complement its forecourt retailing efforts.
Harle says there are no plans for a national roll-out at present.
Both Shell and BP have placed greater emphasis on their convenience store business, with recent advertising campaigns pushing the range of products on offer at forecourt shops (MW February 12). Shell already has 3,000 Select forecourt stores in 40 countries. Fifteen Shell Select forecourt shops have bakeries and 44 have off-licences.
The shift in emphasis reflects the oil companies need to recoup money lost on petrol sales as a result of a series of vicious price wars with the supermarkets.
Shell holds ten per cent share of the UK forecourt convenience business, worth 2.8bn in total (IGD).