New Store Considered for Senior Shoppers
By Bernice Hurst, Managing Partner, Fine Food Network
Following an experiment by German supermarket, Kaiser, that seems to be far more successful than anticipated, British chain, Tesco, is considering a store designed specifically to meet the needs of older shoppers. Music, non-slip floors, extra-wide aisles, brighter than usual lights and steps to assist in reaching high shelves are just some of the German store’s features.
To see if the concept would translate to the British market, a group of over-65s from Newcastle, where Tesco is considering opening a first pensioner-friendly store, toured the first one to open in Germany. The fact-finding mission was led by Professor Jim Edwardson, 67, founder of Newcastle University’s Institute for Ageing and Health. The Daily Mail quoted Professor Edwardson as saying, “Almost everything about supermarket shopping in the U.K. is wrong for elderly customers, from shelving that is too high to reach or too low to get to… The Kaiser store was the first of its kind in Germany and is so impressive. The trolleys on their own are lighter and easier to move.”
He also admired clear signage and magnifying glasses on shelves and trolleys.
Since the Kaiser store opened in 2005, sales have increased by 25 percent above forecast figures, with more than 60 percent of its customers aged over 50, according to the report.
Recognition of the growing number of older people in the U.K. is making retailers consider ways to accommodate them. The charity, Help the Aged, claims that addressing their needs will cost little but will lead to large rewards. It is predicted that in just 20 years’ time, half the population of Europe will be aged over 50. Recent figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that the UK already has more pensioners than children under 16.
Michael Kissman, Tesco’s corporate affairs manager, told just-food that they will be listening to what the Institute has to say after their visit.
“They are leaders in the field for looking at ageing and lifestyles for older people and whenever Tesco opens up a new store we consult the local community on our plans.” He stressed that no decision has been made although a possible site has been identified next door to the Institute.
Discussion questions: What do you think is the market potential for senior-friendly stores? What are the pros and cons for U.S. chains opening such concepts? Are they really useful for older shoppers, way too patronizing, or just another bid for publicity?
- Tesco reveals Britain’s first ‘pensioner-friendly’ supermarket – with magnifying glasses and seats on trolleys – The Daily Mail
- Tesco in talks to open “pensioner-friendly” store – just-food (sub. required)