Holland’s oldest grocery chain Dekamarkt has taken its new concept store to market. Retail Week takes a turn around the Haarlem store.

DekaMarkt, the Netherlands’ oldest grocery chain, has opened a concept store in a former railway carriage factory in Beverwijk, on the outskirts of Haarlem. With a 50,000 sq ft footprint, the ‘World of Food’ is a large store, so to give the interior a more human scale, the decision was made to adopt a market-style approach.

Consultancy Twelve Studio created the blueprint for the store, the principal mid-floor feature of which is a series of pavilions spread across the floor. These are rounded in order to break down the straight edges of the box and are home to specialist areas including fresh counters, coffee roasting, restaurants, sushi, juices and a wine cellar.

Wooden market-style carts and crates are used as display vehicles, reinforcing the sense that this is more than a big box.

What is also interesting is that each area has its own distinct character, but at the same time this is still an integrated whole with a recognisable handwriting. In part, this is achieved by the use of large format bold graphics that act as navigation aids and design features with equal force.

For retailers operating units of this size, there is an ever-present danger of shopper boredom and the feeling that walking round a shop is something of a chore. DekaMarkt seems to have avoided this and has created an interior in which shoppers might just want to slow down and enjoy the way the products have been organised.

It is one of the ironies of retail that markets used to be places that were looked down on and that shoppers went to because things might be cheaper than in a supermarket. Today, however, grocers such as DekaMarkt are falling over themselves to offer interiors that go back to food retail’s roots.