Progressive Grocer

DEC 2016

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Page 26 of 135

the shopper's desire for quick meals. "Driven by urban environments and shopper habits, grocers are often seeking smaller, more efficient store layouts that allow for better real estate opportunities," Henken says. What are the most common challenges encountered in new store designs? According to Henken, rising construction, mainte- nance and energy costs top the list, balanced against the need to keep prices competitive. "Too many people involved in the design decision- making process can drive longer timelines for developing a new concept and can result in a mediocre project that everyone is satisfied with, but no one is passionate about," he contends. "A strong yet compact leadership decision- making team informed by the overall management team is best for developing impactful retail designs." And with each new design, there's a learning process. "e best learnings are obtained through strategic inter- views with employees and customers in a post-opening evaluation designed to gain insight into reality and percep- tion, relative to the design intent," Henken asserts. "Oppor- tunities often present themselves during the construction of a new store prototype to make the store better without losing the design intent or operational effectiveness." What factors are going to be most important in the design of future stores? "Customer experience will be the only differentiating factor when competing with Amazon, and the myriad other online options available to consumers," Henken says. "Amazon has already realized this and is developing brick-and-mortar stores." On the following pages, we revisit a few of our favorite Stores of the Month from the past year and talk to some of the folks behind the projects. December 2016 | | 27

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