Independent food group Haldanes is to invest in a raft of initiatives to revitalise the hard discounter model when it launches its “Netto plus” chain at the end of April.
Ugo, which will comprise 20 of the Netto stores Asda had to sell off as part of its £778m acquisition, will look like a carbon-copy of Netto with the same distinctive yellow and black branding but will be improved to create a “discounter plus model” chief operating officer Richard Collins claimed.
Ugo, which will have a chain of stores across the M62 corridor, will carry 3,000 SKUs so shoppers can do a full weekly shop. Netto currently has 1,100. Ugo will also introduce home delivery, a loyalty card, non-food items, and develop its own-label lines.
It also aims to cash in on the success of rent-to-buy retailers such as BrightHouse and will introduce consumer credit on its non-food items, such as TVs.
Collins said: “When Netto closes it will leave a huge gap and we believe there’s an opportunity to capture that market, and expand on it with a wider offer.”
Collins said there is still growth in the discount sector and added that Ugo will be competitive on price. He said: “We aim to be cheaper than Asda.”
He said value retailers such as B&M Bargains and Home Bargains had picked up shoppers from the discounters and larger supermarkets over the last few years by offering brands such as Spam, which will now also be stocked at Ugo.
Haldanes is supplied by symbol group Nisa-Today and Collins said it will develop new relationships with different suppliers in conjunction with Nisa in order to service the discounter model.
Parent Haldanes launched in November 2009 and now has three fascias - Haldanes is its mid-size supermarket, HaldanesXpress is its forecourt business, and Ugo will be its discounter format. It was set up by a conglomerate of convenience store veterans, including chief executive Arthur Harris, who sold his stake in Osprey Forecourts in 2003.