London architectural and interior design group The Hancock Ward Company is rolling out new interiors and signage across Safeway’s central London stores.
The move follows a successful trial of the new format at the supermarket chain’s King’s Road branch in Chelsea (DW 13 August 1999).
The decision by the UK’s fourth largest supermarket group to revamp its London stores represents an effort to emphasise its merchandising, customer service and product availability. The chain is also aiming to cater more efficiently for its “time poor” urban customers.
The modifications come at a time of intense change for the UK’s supermarket sector, following the acquisition last year of Asda by US retailing giant Wal-Mart. Other supermarket rivals, such as former UK market leader Sainsbury’s, have emphasised the quality of their own fresh products in a bid to increase customer appeal.
The refitted Safeway stores will include new signage and lighting, as well as colourful market-style displays of fruit and vegetables.
The chain’s Wapping outlet in East London will be the first to be redesigned as part of the project, with an additional four shops in the capital unveiling the new design elements by Christmas.
Safeway chief executive Carlos Criado-Perez says: “I want our new look London stores to really bring our passion for food alive to our clients. They’ll be far more engaging and enjoyable to shop in and unlike any other stores in the UK.”