Asda is preparing to open its first Asda Express in London as the retailer continues building its presence in the fast-growing convenience sector.
Opening to the general public tomorrow (Tuesday 6 December), the Tottenham Hale store forms a key part of Asda’s long-term strategy to overtake Sainsbury’s and become the UK’s second largest supermarket by market share.
The second of Asda’s standalone convenience stores, the new opening has created 24 jobs for the local community and expects to serve 1,200 customers each day.
The new store – which follows in the wake of last month’s Falcon Lodge launch in the West Midlands – offers food to go, an instore bakery, fresh produce, a click and collect service, has nine self checkouts and will also offer a rapid delivery service via Uber Eats.
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Talking candidly about the impending opening, Asda’s vice president of wholesale and convenience Steve Shirley said the Tottenham branch – located just moments from the busy tube station – was geared up for a “completely different customer”.
“Falcon Lodge has a more residential customer base and a less diverse demographic,” he explained. “This store is set up completely differently – we’ve got more food to go options and we’ve dedicated more space to that whole ‘food on the go’ proposition.”
With a strong focus on keeping prices low for consumers, Shirley is determined that Asda Express will offer the best value of the main grocery convenience offerings, describing it as “by far the cheapest and best value convenience offer on the market”.
The new store features a range of hot and cold ‘food for now’ options from both Asda and a number of partner brands including Leon.
A strong focus and plenty of space dedicated to on the ‘Food for now’ and ‘Food for later’ propositions reflect the commuter consumers who will be using the store. An instore bakery also allows the store to offer fresh bread and pastries each day.
The ‘Food for later’ cabinets – or as Shirley put it, “food for tonight” – contain link-saved offers designed for workers to pick up and take home for that evening.
“We’re not trying to have big pack sizes, that wouldn’t work,,” said Shirley. “So we’ve made sure we can offer deals and savings on the products we are stocking.”
Confectionery is a “massive category for convenience” so Asda has made sure it has a really compelling offer in this section.
“We’re going toe-to-toe with our major existing convenience rivals on this one,” said Shirley.
Fresh fruit and veg is key to the offer, as are store cupboard staples
As part of its ‘Food Cupboard’ ranging, the Tottenham Hale store also offers a wide range of international and ethnic product.
Curated to reflect the diverse needs of the multicultural community it serves, the ranging has been developed as Asda aims to “understand the local customer as much as we can”.
The store also offers a self-service Collect & Return kiosk, expected to be used by around 100 consumers a day as they access Asda’s ecommerce offer without having to wait for a member of staff to be available.
The Falcon Lodge Collect & Return service is already seeing around 100% more traffic than initially expected.
The store has been designed with flat aisle ends, which have been used for Asda branding and information. While they remain prime instore real estate, HFSS regulations limit the profitability of the gondola ends and so additional bays of core product lines have been prioritised over promotional space.
“We’re focusing on Asda value and convenience with a fantastic offer in a great locality,” said Shirley.
“It’s not about trying to offer the same experience as a million pound store. What we have got is a really strong convenience offer and that’s what we’re focusing on.”
Asda expects to open between 15 and 30 Asda Express sites over the next year, creating around 500 new jobs.