When routine becomes an experience: the development of convenience retail

The development in German convenience retail is twofold. First the good news: the food retailers are doing well. Consumer sentiment in Germany is at its most positive for a number of years: whilst nominal turnovers across the whole retail market rose by 12.8% between 2000 and 2016 (according to the HDE Handelsverband Deutschland), turnovers in the food and luxury foods segment rose at a significantly higher rate of 36.4%.

But: although “only” 0.8% of food retailers’ turnover was generated by online trade over the last year (source: BBE Handelsberatung/IFH Cologne), they are also concerned about the expansion plans of online retailers such as Primus Amazon Fresh. There are two trends which particularly stand out: on the one hand more and more over-the-counter retailers such as Rewe and Edeka are starting their own long march onto the internet and are growing alongside “pure players” such as Amazon Fresh. On the other hand the chain stores are looking at innovative sales concepts and are shifting from fringe locations into town centers with new store formats as a reaction to the changing shopping and mobility behaviour of their customers.

Brighter stores with wider aisles, untreated wood elements and inviting entrance areas aim to improve the ambience for customers and make the daily shop a contemporary lifestyle experience. This has also involved changing the location of goods in the store, for example the fruit and vegetable department has been shifted from the entrance area near the check-outs to the rear area of the stores.

This is complemented by experience factors such as the café area. A forerunner of this development was the “friedel markt & restaurant” format operated by Globus: only around half of the approx. 800 m² store area is actually used for over-the-counter retail. The remaining area is occupied by a restaurant and show kitchen – a concept already tested successfully by independent Edeka and Rewe franchisers.


Markus Wotruba

BBE Handelsberatung München
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E-mail: wotruba@bbe.de