FreshStop at Caltex opens its largest forecourt convenience store in South Africa

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FreshStop, the fastest growing and largest convenience retail brand in South Africa, continues to lead the convenience retail industry with the opening of its new flagship store in Caledon in the Western Cape on the busy N2 commuter highway. As its largest convenience retail store in the country with 400sq m of retail space alone, FreshStop at Caltex Caledon’s official opening took place on Thursday, 27 October 2016.

Leading the SA industry in growth, FreshStop’s stores continue to outperform all other fuel forecourt convenience retail brands in turnover and it maintains its lead in the number of stores it has opened countrywide, with FreshStop Caledon being its 234th store nationally. Owned by Fruit & Veg City, FreshStop focuses on offering its clients a healthy and varied product offering in-store. According to Joe Boyle, director at FreshStop: “Changing consumer lifestyles have led to the emergence of convenience stores as a shopping destination. With convenience stores open for longer hours, South Africans have found the forecourt retailer concept to be a safe and time-saving shopping experience. There is a growing demand for one-stop fuel and food purchases.”

According to Nielsen Retailer Services Africa, the growth in the convenience retail sector continues unabated with more than 1,000 forecourt store outlets have opened in the last six years, with the fastest growing regions being Gauteng, the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. In addition, forecourt c-store sales growth across all categories stands at 13%, which currently outpaces traditional retail stores by 2%.

One of the factors driving this growth in sales, according to a recent study by Nielsen, is that 53% of consumers shop multiple times per week to get fresh and healthy food for the family, with 67% wanting to shop efficiently and not linger in store.

FreshStop’s focus on innovation was one of the key reasons it was awarded International Convenience Retailer of the Year in 2013 and it has continued to lead the SA industry in c-store innovation. Evidence of this can be seen in the number of new lines that have been launched by the retailer in the last year alone. FreshStop Caledon has several of these new brands on offer such as the Crispy Chicken, Grill to Go and Angelberry frozen yogurt outlets. In addition, the store features the largest Seattle Coffee outlet yet and their great coffee works well with FreshStop’s newest in-store brand, Doughnut Delite.

“Our focus is very much on convenience and ensuring that our customers can be in and out of the store in 10 minutes if they’re in a hurry to get back on the road. However, it is also an opportunity for us to expose all our new innovations in convenience food offers,” enthuses Boyle. On the other hand, as the wall decals in the store proclaim…life’s a journey…and this store has been developed to offer a respite from the road. FreshStop’s first ever FreshStop Diner, which has the look and feel of a modern, stylish American diner has become the perfect place to freshen up and recharge. It offers customers free wifi and power point sockets, and is the ideal place to settle down and enjoy the many food offerings available in-store. The FreshStop Diner also opens onto an outdoor playground area for the kids and a pet-friendly safe space to walk, water and exercise your dogs when travelling long distances. Another bonus for travellers and commuters are the new, clean and fresh toilet facilities available on-site.

“The FreshStop Diner is a new strategic direction for us and we plan on rolling-out many more of these diners as we push on with our strategic drive to capture the highway fuel forecourt network,” explains Boyle.

Since the start, FreshStop at Caltex’s strategic focus has been to offer customers healthy, high-quality food at great prices and the new store’s healthy options are numerous. FreshStop at Caltex Caledon has integrated healthy food options into the store with a Biltong Bar, smoothies and freshly pressed Juice Bar, salad options, a Panini Bar, and the ‘We ♥ Health’ grocery display offers a myriad of healthy products for sale. To top the offering, a selection of hot foods at the Pitstop Cafe, homemade pies and an Energy Zone are available. “The focus on providing customers with a healthy offering is very important to us. We want there to be several healthy eating options available so that there’s a choice for everyone. Health and sustainability has become even more important as ease, time and space efficient offerings blend with on-the-go lifestyles and, interestingly enough, we have found that our ‘We ♥Health’ grocery items are selling extremely well at this site,” says Boyle.

In addition, an expanded range of on-the-go medical and health products as well as household essentials such as batteries are available at the Health Essentials counter located at the cashier station.

In 2009, FreshStop at Caltex, a partnership between Fruit & Veg City and Chevron SA, opened its first store in the Western Cape. “During the past seven years, we have made huge strides in the industry and we’ve been able to grow our footprint significantly,” says Brian Coppin, CEO of Fruit & Veg City. “It has been through our continued focus on innovation, freshness and convenience that we’ve been able to grow to 238 stores across the country”.

FreshStop’s figures show that when a fuel forecourt store converts to the FreshStop brand, franchisees experience growth of around 60% in sales in the first year after conversion, and after three years, a compound growth of 25% in retail sales and 10% in fuel volume. “Our retail formula has been very successful and we work with a dynamic team of retailers to make this possible. As a result of our great relationships, we see potential in the marketplace to sustain 400 FreshStop at Caltex stores within the next three year,” adds Coppin.

“The fuel station on which the FreshStop Diner is situated is owned and supported by one of Chevron South Africa’s highly successful Branded Marketer partners, Moov Fuel. This entrepreneur is an empowered fuel marketing wholesaler who successfully manages over 75 service stations in the Western Cape under the Caltex brand,” says Ash Raja, branded marketer sales manager at Chevron South Africa.

Chevron South Africa’s Caltex Branded Marketer programme was in part developed to help integrate black empowered entrants into the value chain of the petroleum retail market. This partnership has reached a strategic ten-year milestone with 11 black empowered companies, who together account for 53% of Caltex’s retail volume across South Africa and Botswana.

FreshStop at Caltex Caledon is managed by husband and wife team Rashid and Karen Naidoo, who have years of experience in the retail industry and are dedicated to providing a great retail experience whilst still offering convenience and super customer care in this new flagship store.

Naidoo says: “Despite all the quick service and convenient food options available to commuters, we are still focusing heavily on our local residential customers in the Caledon area. We are, therefore, running several specials for locals and our wide selection of fresh fruit and vegetables is sure to impress.”

FreshStop, named International Convenience Retailer of the Year 2013, is South Africa’s fastest growing 24-hour convenience store brand and has a network of 238 stores countrywide.