FreshStop: going small is getting big in convenience retail

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FreshStop small is big

FreshStop, the largest and fastest growing convenience store retail brand in South Africa, has introduced a new concept retail store to the convenience retail industry in SA. These ‘small format’ stores, specifically designed for small towns and more rural areas, provide customers in these more out of the way areas with the opportunity to experience the best in convenience retail through the FreshStop at Caltex brand and product offering.

According to research done by Nielsen, small stores now account for 26% of the global grocery market and when wanting to pop out and top up, 71% of shoppers look for their closest c-store at which to stop and shop.  Small format stores are becoming a way in which larger retailers can access smaller, more rural communities and use their buying power and distribution network to provide customers with a quality product at value for money pricing. As part of the Fruit & Veg City group, FreshStop has also been reinvesting in distribution and warehouses to supply smaller volumes farther away.

The small-format stores being rolled-out by FreshStop will use existing structures at Caltex forecourt sites, whether they’re existing unbranded stores or old mechanics workshops that are no longer being used, to set up a 40m2 c-store that provides the quality and convenience that they’re known for.

“As the 1st convenience retailer in the fuel forecourt industry in South Africa to roll-out small-format stores, we are excited about this opportunity to reach customers in out of the way locations without diluting the quality of the FreshStop brand and offering products and services centred on convenience. Our objective is to construct a FreshStop store for under R1million using around 40m2 of retail space, excluding office and storage space requirements.

“Our Caltex branded marketers, investors and store retailers have been very positive about this new strategic direction and the lower entry costs and capex spend needed to convert to the brand has been positively received. This concept gives small rural fuel forecourt retailers an opportunity to increase fuel volumes and at the same time, provide a better retail offering,” says Joe Boyle, director at FreshStop.

Smaller format stores have become popular internationally where larger brands are moving away from massive store footprints. In the US in 2015 alone, small format retail outgrew larger format stores by almost 400%. Due to this growth, small format retail now makes up a $1 trillion market, and there doesn’t seem to be any slowdown in this growth.

FreshStop started rolling out small format stores in September last year and now has several sites in the planning phase for this year with the latest small format store having opened in St Lucia, KwaZulu-Natal in May.