Safeway plots upmarket stores

Safeway is to test a new convenience store format aimed at the high end of the market, with a view to introducing it to up to 60 of its small stores in London.

The concept store will open at the Tower Bridge branch, in London, in November and will include a number of new lines aimed at high income customers. Safeway has 60 stores across London of between 12,000sq ft and 20,000sq ft, referred to as the “tardis format”.

Analysts say the move shows the supermarket chain’s determination to position itself between Sainsbury’s at the high end of the market and Tesco and Asda at the value end. Sainsbury’s trades through its convenience store format, Sainsbury’s Central, while Tesco has its Express and Metro formats.

A Safeway spokesman says: “We have a number of stores in London which trade heavily because of convenience. We are looking at how we can give them a new format. We want to do things very differently.”

Brian Roberts, analyst at Retail Intelligence, says: “Despite its recent upturn, Safeway may feel it needs to recover its identity because of the high profile repositioning of Sainsbury’s and the entrance of Wal-Mart.”

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