Asda’s first Express stores could be targeting a more affluent customer base with a focus on food to go, planning applications suggest.
The supermarket announced the launch of a convenience format this month, with plans to open more than 30 sites by the end of 2023. Each store will be an average of 3,000sq ft and stock a range of 3,000 lines.
The first store opening is in the Falcon Lodge suburb of Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, on 8 November. The second site will open on 6 December on a new housing development within Tottenham Hale, north London.
Licensing applications for the Tottenham site submitted to Haringey Council revealed it would be based in the same building as a new housing development. The store is also situated near student accommodation, a retail park and new-build flats, where a 1,000sq ft threebedroom apartment costs nearly £800,000. Competition includes a Tesco Express, Poundland, Iceland Food Warehouse and unaffiliated convenience stores nearby.
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One senior planning consultant revealed that the Tottenham branch has planning applications for ventilation and extractor plants, suggesting a substantial food-to-go section. Proposals for the exterior signage also suggested an emphasis on fresh and chilled.
Commenting on the planning submissions, retail expert David Gilroy said: “The signage indicates advertising for several in-store concessions. It’s likely Asda will sell this space to Leon, Greggs or another of its food-to-go partners.
“The layout of the fridges also suggests some kind of service counter. It fits with the area as there are a lot of young professionals living nearby who are on the move a lot. The licensing application states opening hours of 6am-12am. Asda will have likely picked the store size for these extended hours.”
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Meanwhile, the Sutton Coldfield store is based in the middle of a suburban neighbourhood. It will also provide competition to a Costcutter on the same street, as well as a One Stop nearby. Planning applications revealed that site is converted from a former clinic, which Birmingham Council permitted in 2019.
One senior symbol boss added: “Sutton Coldfield is a posher suburb within Birmingham. When you combine that with where the Tottenham Hale site is, it seems the supermarket is targeting a more affluent customer base.”
Explaining the potential threat to independents, Gilroy added: “The existing independent retailers have no worry. They’ve already faced competition against existing supermarkets nearby and have differentiated. It’s Tesco and Iceland who will be threatened by Asda Express.”
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