Costcutter in bid to move upmarket

Costcutter Supermarkets is to test a new upmarket format in an effort to claw back market share from powerful brands such as Tesco and Sainsbury’s, which are entering the convenience sector.

Concepts will be tested on students at Warwick University in a new 5,500 sq ft store and will be rolled out to its 766 stores nationwide if successful.

The economy chain will offer more branded products and test innovations such as an off-licence counter called “Rhythm & Booze”, which is painted in psychedelic colours with flashing disco lights.

Costcutter corporate affairs director, Norman Walker, says the company is looking for a format change and will treat the student site as an opportunity to try out a “completely different Costcutter”.

Walker says: “We are looking at this as a test. If it is the right concept to go outside the university we will look at it for our bigger stores.”

The launch of Tesco Metro, Sainsbury’s Local and Safeway/BP forecourt stores has put pressure on the economy end of the convenience store market, traditionally served by independents such as Costcutter.

Costcutter is also in talks with York University about a campus store and hopes to launch the format at other student sites.

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