Stores of the future be like…

November 29, 2022 | By RetailME Bureau

Stores of the future be like: Spinneys Meydan

Interstore | Schweitzer is currently working on a “store of the future” concept for EDEKA Group, one of largest supermarket chains in Germany that’s set to open towards the end of 2023.

In an exclusive interview with RetailME, Bernhard Heiden, CSO & Creative Director Interstore | Schweitzer talks about the evolving face of retail design and inspiring food retail projects.

Tell us about some inspiring projects you’ve worked on over the past couple of years.

In February 2023 we look forward to the opening of a new Fresh Food Market in Cairo, Egypt, which we delivered for our long-term client Metro Markets. This project is a quantum leap when it comes to the way of selling fresh products. We supported our client both in finding a new visual identity and in implementing a new way to display the fresh areas. The store looks more like a high fashion boutique as opposed to a simple food market. There is nothing even remotely simple or ordinary about this project. Starting from the splendid colour palette, use of natural materials to eye-catching decorative elements, the whole space is an epitome for luxury. Another project, resulting from our long-term partnership with Spinney’s, will open its doors towards the beginning of next year at The Dubai Mall.

In 2019, we had designed Spinney’s flagship store at Al Meydan in Dubai where a unique presentation of fresh products was one of our priorities. Internationally, we have been busy working on projects in North America, especially in Canada. At the end of 2021 we opened our first Flexstore™ in North America for Sobeys Orangeville. Our patented Flexstore™ principle is based on ready to plug-in, flexible furniture thanks to an elaborate system in which the building services (water, electricity, vacuum, data etc.) are fed from the ceiling into the counters and furniture. Fresh food counters and refrigerated units can be flexibly outsourced according to this principle and docked onto other areas as required. The Flexstore™ thus allows the retailer to change counters – also from service to self-service – and entire departments quickly and easily without major construction costs.

Post-covid as hybrid retailing has become non-negotiable has it changed retail design principles too?

Absolutely! The pandemic has accelerated several global trends that we had anticipated since the past few years. Sustainability and increased demand for self-service counters and HMR products have greatly influenced our everyday work in retail design. Enjoying food in the retail space has gained a major role in designing stores, especially in Europe. So, integrating gastronomic hubs and extending fresh food areas have become a key focus when conceiving concepts for supermarkets and fresh food markets globally. In addition, there is a clear demand for one-stop-shopping destinations – consumers are looking for stores where they can tick off their entire shopping list all at once. So, our mission as designers and shopfitters is to create spaces where the customer flow is fast, easy and appealing at the same time. Finally, even as the food industry expected people to lean towards pre-packed and safely sanitized products, consumers’ urge to return to normality has come as a pleasant surprise. Resultantly, salad bars and hot food counters are now as popular as ever.

How do you infuse technology pieces smartly into retail design?

Yet another trend that has paved its way into food retail is the increasing integration of cashless payment solutions. This solution has been a significant gamechanger for food stores, providing more space for other departments, reducing labour costs while offering an additional benefit to the consumer.

Interstore | Schweitzer now also has an office in Dubai to be close to its MENA-based clients.

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