AF Blakemore’s Flagship Store Programme has been crowned Business Initiative of the Year at the Grocer Gold Awards.
Fighting off stiff competition from finalists including Aldi UK and the Co-op, the Flagship Store Programme was announced as the winning business initiative at The Grocer’s awards ceremony at London’s Guildhall on 11 June.
Judges described the “phenomenal” initiative as “creative and multifaceted”, with the “perfect combination of measurement and incentives” to ensure it achieved what it set out to.
The programme, launched in May 2018, was created by Blakemore Trade Partners to deliver innovative store formats for retailers that enable them to achieve higher profit margins.
A total of 10 stores were selected to take part in the programme and undergo a store development, with Blakemore Trade Partners co-investing in each.
BTP head of store formats John Murray explained: “The Flagship Store Programme focuses on flexing space, range and price to deliver the best results for each store format and location.
“This is a long-term strategy whereby store formats are continually evolved based on changing shopper needs, customer insight and detailed understanding of shopper missions – so that stores can reflect the needs of the communities they serve and offer customers true convenience.”
Stores on the Flagship Store Programme have experienced sales growth of up to 30% as well as increased basket spend and footfall.
The scheme has introduced new food-to-go solutions such as a heat-and-eat concept, ice cream machines and milkshake machines, as well as new self-scanning technology, format-specific marketing campaigns, more focused ranges and increased space for fresh food and food for now.
Six stores have adopted electronic shelf-edge labelling, making A.F. Blakemore the largest implementer of electronic shelf-edge labels in the UK.
BTP sales director Louis Drake commented: “We are delighted to be recognised as industry leaders in store innovation and are incredibly proud of what our Flagship Store Programme has achieved.
“Retailers are looking for partners that can provide strategic support to enable them to evolve and compete in an increasingly competitive marketplace, and our Flagship Store Programme does just this.
“The scheme celebrates what Blakemore Trade Partners does best: innovative store formats, leading convenience brands, class-leading technology and brilliantly executed business partnerships.
“We are committed to investing in our retailers for the long term and look forward to working with further stores on the programme. The really exciting part is that this is just the beginning; we’re already working on the second phase of this strategy, which we believe will deliver even better returns for our retailers.”