At its Retail Exhibition 2019, Nisa unveiled its Evolution store format, showcasing new self-service technology and far greater depth of the Co-op’s own-brand range. 

One of the major changes to the new 4,000 sq ft store format was a move away from previous iteration’s focus on the food-to-go offering, with greater focus instead on self-service. The new format features Nisa’s first-ever self-checkout tills, which Nisa sales director Steve Leach said was driven by customer desire for greater convenience.

The new Nisa store also displayed a greatly increased range of the Co-op’s premium own brand products. The new format has added 1,000 Co-op SKUs across both the ambient and chilled ranges, which along with the 900 products added after the acquisition last year means Nisa stores can now offer 80% of the Co-op’s range.

“Importantly this year, the Stoneleigh store allows us the opportunity to demonstrate the optimal range of Co-op own-brand products in both ambient and chill,” said Darren May, head of format and development at the c-store wholesaler.

“Using Co-op point-of-sale materials, we’re showing partners how to bring to life the hero categories from the range that will help drive sales and profits in their stores.”

Also on display was a new checkout counter, which can be increased or decreased in size to fit the particular need of Nisa partners. This is a continuation of the move away from a one-size-fits-all model to help accommodate its members’ budget and store requirements.

Independent retailers can pick the parts of the store they want, such as the new-look checkout and self-checkout tills, hot food-to-go counters, coffee machines, freshly squeezed orange juice machines, in-store bakeries and islands dedicated to to local spiritis, particularly gin.

Chief executive Ken Towle said the new format was “contemporary and will excite customers” and highlight that its flexibility was a big part of Nisa’s appeal.

He said: “The nice thing about Nisa is that we’ve got a very broad platform nad have the had the ability over the years to be very flexibile. What we’re setting up for our partners is a range of options that they can take from Nisa, like a buffet. Our partners can take the things they want and that appeal to them, and that’s a big part of our appeal.”

Nisa said that almost 400 partners had committed to refitting their stores in the new Evolution format, and that new stores and store conversions had doubled average sales from 6% to 12% in 2018.