7 UK supermarkets transforming their store estates this year

A focus for many UK supermarkets this year is to refresh, modernise and expand their store estates to improve the shopping experience for customers across the country.

With so many grocers planning to update their sites and in a range of different ways, we round up what changes to expect from seven of the UK’s leading supermarkets in the year ahead.

Asda’s £50m upgrade

Asda store

Last month, Asda unveiled a £50m store upgrade programme designed to improve the shopping experience for customers in its larger supermarkets and superstores.

The plans, which will begin at the grocer’s Long Eaton store in Nottingham and will run across a total of 170 supermarkets, are expected to be completed by the end of November.

As part of the programme, 50 larger stores will receive major upgrades, including the introduction of new in-store services and features, such as a new George department in some stores, new foyers, new seasonal aisles, new food-to-go services, new counters, and new flooring and lighting.

The remaining stores will receive refreshed exterior and interior decoration to reflect Asda’s new brand identity, which was unveiled earlier this month, and includes an updated logo, typography and colour palette.

These stores will also receive new trolley bays, new signage, improved toilet facilities and exterior landscaping work. As well as the Long Eaton store, other sites undergoing changes over the coming months include Coventry, Altrincham, Dundee and Charlton.

Asda senior director of construction and implementation Ian Brackenbury says the programme is one of the ways the grocer is looking to “improve to overall experience” for customers.

“Starting with our supermarkets and superstores, this significant investment allows us to upgrade our stores by launching new and exciting services, whilst making significant improvements to the existing components of our established stores.”

Lidl to open hundreds of new stores

In April, Lidl unveiled plans to open hundreds of new stores across the country this year in locations including Bristol, Birmingham and Berwick, as well as across London in Wandsworth, Fulham, Hoxton and Canning Town.

The discount grocer has also published its latest list of desired locations for potential new stores, such as in Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, and towns from Woking and Wadebridge to Dumfries and Didcot.

Lidl GB chief development officer Richard Taylor says the expansion looks to build on the retailer’s commitment in ” ensuring that all households across the country have access to high quality produce at affordable prices is stronger than ever”.

While he said that Lidl has plans to “open hundreds of new stores”, he adds that the grocer ultimately sees “no ceiling on our ambition or growth potential”.

M&S boosts London store estate

M&s bakery

Last month, M&S unveiled plans to invest £30m more into its London store estate over the next year, which will include the opening of two new food halls in Sidcup and Friern Barnet.

A further 12 stores in London will see a modernised revamp, including Islington, Chancery Lane, Teddington and Blackheath.

The changes will include bigger in-store bakeries, dedicated flower and wine shops, as well as click-and-collect facilities.

M&S operations director Sacha Berendji says that the London expansion marks a “key part” of the upmarket retailer’s growth strategy.

“Our market share in food is higher here than any region in England and there is plenty of untapped potential,” he adds.

As part of the upmarket retailer’s wider expansion plans, it aims to have 180 higher quality, higher productivity full-line stores and 420 food stores, investing in upgrading and innovating its food range.

Aldi expands sites with £550m expansion

Here depicting an Aldi Store - grass

Aldi has plans to invest £550m to expand its UK footprint this year, which will see it open 35 new stores in 2024 as part of its long-term target of having 1,500 stores in the UK.

Aldi UK managing director of national real estate Jonathan Neale says that the discounter is “more determined than ever” to expand its presence across the country.

“We want to make high-quality food accessible to all, and shoppers know they’ll always get more for their money when shopping at Aldi.”

Waitrose refreshes stores

Waitrose store

As part of its ongoing turnaround plan, Waitrose owner the John Lewis Partnership said the year ahead marks one of “significant” investment, with £542m to be used to modernise its technology and refresh its stores.

Across Waitrose specifically, it plans to open new stores in areas where the brand is underserved. It will also refurbish 80 existing stores over the next three years.

The new sites, which will be a mixture of supermarkets and convenience stores, mark the first time in nearly a decade that Waitrose has developed a pipeline of new shops.

Waitrose executive director James Bailey says the changes include “making the shops brighter and lighter, more engaging for customers, revamping and doubling down on our counter and our service proposition”.

Tesco’s store improvement plan

Tesco store

Over the next year, supermarket giant Tesco plans to increase its store portfolio with 87 new sites and a refresh at a further 389 stores.

The grocer is also extending its improvement plan further down its supply chain, having started construction of a fresh food distribution centre in Aylesford, Kent, which will incorporate robotic automation technology.

Sainsbury’s new stores

During its latest trading update, Sainsbury’s reported that its new supermarkets in Southport and Talbort Green are performing “significantly ahead of expectations” as it looks to continue its expansion plans in the year ahead.

At these new supermarkets, updated features include a layout which Sainsbury’s says is “aligned to customer shopping missions”.

This includes “right-sized” space for fresh food, new propositions in key categories, improved in-aisle signage and digital screens.

Throughout the year, the grocer expects to open three supermarkets and around 25 new convenience stores. However, four supermarkets and three to five convenience stores will close.

In a bid to better connect its brands, the retailer also expects to open around eight Argos stores inside Sainsbury’s supermarkets and to grow this between 450 and 460 by March 2025.

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