The list of retailers and brands joining forces with the big four supermarkets has grown further after Sainsbury’s launched an in-store Crussh juice bar.
A myriad of similar partnerships have been struck in recent years as the grocers bid to fill excess store space and broaden their proposition of products and services to drive footfall.
But how many partnerships do Britain’s leading supermarket chains now boast and what gaps remain in their propositions?
Sainsbury’s maiden Crussh juice bar in Pimlico took its number of concession partners to 19, if you include Argos and Habitat.
“Lloyds Pharmacy is its biggest partner, with 278 shop-in-shops – sites that became part of the Lloyds portfolio when it snapped up Sainsbury’s pharmacy business last summer”
The supermarket chain currently has 63 Argos digital implants in its supermarkets and is targeting at least 250, while seven Mini Habitats are currently trading across its estate.
Sainsbury’s does not technically count those as concession partners, since the businesses were acquired by the group in a £1.4bn deal last September, but it has plenty of other tie-ups in its arsenal.
Lloyds Pharmacy is its biggest partner, with 278 shop-in-shops – sites that became part of the Lloyds portfolio when it snapped up Sainsbury’s pharmacy business last summer.
The grocer also has concession deals in place with:
- Timpson (shoe repairs)
- Johnsons (dry cleaning)
- Specsavers (optician)
- Jessops (photography retailer)
- Regatta (outdoor retailer)
- Clarks (footwear retailer)
- Sushi Gourmet (fresh food counter)
- Sushi Daily (fresh food counter)
- Starbucks (coffee shop)
- Thomas Cook (travel agent)
- Virgin Holidays (travel agent)
- Explore Learning (education)
- Supercuts (hairdresser)
- Bupa (healthcare)
- Centre For Dentistry (healthcare)
The grocer also struck a deal with Patisserie Valerie earlier this year, although that is a product supply relationship, with the brand’s goods sold through Sainsbury’s existing patisserie counters.
Even discounting that tie-up, Sainsbury’s has built up a strong range of partnerships to provide its shoppers with a number of different reasons to visit its stores.
Tesco’s most recent shop-in-shop pilot with Dixons Carphone marked its 11th concession partnership.
Britain’s biggest grocer is opening two Currys PC World implants at its Milton Keynes Extra store in July and the Weston Favell Extra store in August.
Tesco’s range of other partnerships cover the clothing, accessories, healthy food and sports and leisure sectors, as well as other useful services:
- Arcadia (fashion retailer)
- Holland & Barrett (health food retailer)
- Claire’s (girl’s accessories retailer)
- Costa Coffee (coffee shop)
- Sports Direct (sports and leisure retailer)
- Virgin Holiday (travel agent)
- Timpson (dry cleaning)
- Max Speilmann (photo shop)
- Xpress (car body repair service)
- Avis (car hire)
In addition, Tesco is selling its optician’s business to Vision Express, subject to CMA approval.
Britain’s biggest retailer has gone beyond its closest rival Sainsbury’s, by looking to fill space in its car parks as well as stores through a partnership with the Xpress car body repair business.
But there are a number of areas, such as hairdressing, education and healthcare, that provide further scope for future concession deals.
In comparison with the leading duo in the grocery market, Asda and Morrisons have much smaller portfolios of concession partners.
Despite being lumbered with similarly over-sized stores, the Walmart-owned grocer has not penned as many deals with third parties.
Asda has a number of Decathlon shops in its larger hypermarkets and boasts McDonald’s and Subway fast-food chains in some stores, which have helped increase shopper dwell time.
Barclays, Timpson, Johnsons and Supercuts also have deals in place with Asda, while Photo-Me runs the 191 in-store photo centres and 172 self-service shops it acquired from the grocer in August last year.
“Although it is reasonably placed in the services department, with banks, hair dressers, dry cleaners and shoe repairs, there are other areas it could tap into to attract additional customers”
But the embattled grocer has headroom – and the excess trading space – to attract more partners to beef up boss Sean Clarke’s turnaround bid.
Although it is reasonably placed in the services department, with banks, hair dressers, dry cleaners and shoe repairs, there are other areas it could tap into to attract additional customers.
Coffee shops, health and wellbeing specialists and healthcare services provide the obvious gaps in the Asda proposition, but it could also consider an apparel partner.
While its George fashion label continues to perform well, there is opportunity to add a complementary offer, in the same way Tesco and Sainsbury’s have done with Arcadia and footwear chain Clarks respectively.
In the main, fellow Yorkshire-based grocer Morrisons isn’t lumbered with the excess space its mainstream rivals are grappling with.
The retailer’s average store size is around 28,700 sq ft, meaning it has fewer holes in its trading area to plug.
“Morrisons boss David Potts has focused on integrating ‘popular and useful services’ into its supermarkets that require smaller footprints, rather than drafting in retailers that would demand more square footage”
To that end, Morrisons boss David Potts has focused on integrating “popular and useful services” into its supermarkets that require smaller footprints, rather than drafting in retailers that would demand more square footage.
Partnerships with Timpson (in 150 stores), Doddle and Amazon lockers (in more than 400) are proving successful, while smaller hyper-local tie-ups – like the one it penned with Indian street-food chain Bombay Bites Express in Bradford – have boosted its focus on “local solutions”.
But back in March, Potts revealed it was taking a similar route to Tesco, looking to its car parks to bring in “small retail spaces” such as tyre-change concessions.
Whether or not those deals come to fruition, the concession deals already done by Morrisons, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda are helping to get the big four motoring once again.
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