In a session at the World Retail Congress today a panel of branding experts and retailers considered the elements involved in successful retail format creation.
Michael Luscombe, CEO of Wooloworths in Australia, articulated a clear vision of what any of the retail group’s formats would have to do in order to work in his home country or neighboring New Zealand.

"We tend to shop locally and we tend to shop in the suburbs, so the large out-of-town developments just don’t exist in Australia," he said. He added that Woolworths’ understanding of its local market meant that it had to work with a wide variety of different formats, but that low cost and being an underseller were at the heart of the group’s strategy.

Jesús Echevarria, chief communications officer at Inditex, confirmed Luscombe’s take on format creation and added that customer pull, rather than the traditional retail push model, would be needed in future. "Putting the customer at the centre of things: is that possible? I do not know, but it is what we try to do," he said.

Renuka Jagtiani followed this by showing how Middle-Eastern retail group Landmark International had created 11 formats in 12 countries across the region and that the key to success had been the ability to evolve formats rather than leaving them set in stone.

The session was finished by Jacques Penhirin, a partner at strategy consultancy OC&C who considered how product designers develop new articles and drew a parallel with the creation of new formats. He said that retail could be quicker at new format creation than is generally the case.