EXCLUSIVE: New Budgens symbol format targets bigger baskets

'Anybody who joins now would get this as the new Budgens specification'

Booker Retail Partners (BRP) has launched the latest store in its new Budgens model, setting the template for future shops in the symbol group

The 1,200sq ft shop in Horsham, West Sussex, relaunched on 9 December after converting from Londis. It is the second site that has launched under the new model and has a focus on fresh and chilled

Major differences include lines that are designed to encourage customers to spend as much as they would in a supermarket, and zones dedicated to categories such as food to go and alcohol

Speaking to Better Retailing at the launch, BRP head of retail Gavin Claxton said: “The new concept is what we do. We need to always move on with the concepts and this is the next iteration of what Budgens is. We trialled what we’ve done in previous stores. Anybody who joins now would get this as the new Budgens specification.” 

The store’s owner, Amish Shingadia, told Better Retailing the development of the Budgens store had been a year in the making and was influenced by shopping habits during the pandemic

He added: “When we took over the shop several years ago, it was a bit rundown, but we’ve been refurbishing it based on what customers wanted, and we’ve been getting busier every year. 

“During the pandemic, the store went to a different level and the customers got used to us as a store to visit frequently. We needed to change the store into something that would meet the new demand. 

“It’s now a modern-looking store with the right range of products. We’ve got eight metres of fresh food, which we have been leading on. 

“We also made the decision to remove some dead categories, such as magazines, which we didn’t get any sales from. In the future, newspapers will be placed outside the shop.” 

In the past, the Budgens brand had often been associated with a premium product range

However, the store has been altered to match demand from customers who want more affordable products. 

“We got rid of a lot of the more expensive brands,” Shingadia told Better Retailing. “We have 500 Jack’s own-label products within the store, and we want to promote that value. That has been a part of the new concept. 

“There’s been a bit of money spent creating theatre within the store. The biggest feedback we’ve been getting is the use of space, as customers find it easier to shop. More families are coming in because it’s less claustrophobic. 

“We have alcohol and food-to-go areas where customers can stand around and appreciate it. It’s also about increasing basket spend, and we’ll see if that happens.” 

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