NISA’s new fascia, Loco, was unveiled to the wider world yesterday – with two stores in Newcastle. The name, I am assured, has its roots in ‘Local Convenience’, rather than the 90s pop song Livin’ La Vida Loca by Ricky Martin.

The format is aimed at stores that are on the whole slightly smaller than the average Nisa shop. On the face of it, both the Newcastle stores are very impressive. And what is for certain is that the format is adaptable, because both shops are so different. One store, quite large at around 3,000 sq ft, is located in a heavily studenty area of the city and will I have no doubt be a hit with young adult shoppers. The other, in leafy Gosforth, has more in common with a Waitrose store, offering fine foods alongside basic convenience (what percentage of UK convenience stores also offer pomegranates presented in beautiful wooden crates, I wonder?). This shop has invested heavily in local suppliers and premium products, and has attached a great deal of value to the heritage of the area, striking up a deal with the local library to blow up black and white images from the village’s past and use them to deck out the shop’s walls.

There are 10 more Loco stores due to open in the next eight weeks, and Nisa has set a target of opening 150 stores by the end of March 2013. It’s an ambitious target, and it will be of great interest to see how retailers respond to the fascia.
*For a full report, read Retail Express on March 13.