Nisa joins the run of new symbol format launches

Date : 20 October 2020

Patrick Mitchell-Fox

Senior Retail Analyst

Nisa, the wholesale subsidiary of the Co-op Group, is the latest symbol group operator to add a further variant to its portfolio of store packages available to independent retailers.  Launched at the virtual Nisa 2020 Expo, Nisa Express will sit alongside the established Nisa Local fascia to offer a package targeted to smaller stores that have historically been considered below the qualifying size threshold for its symbol package.

Targeting stores in the 1,000 sq ft bracket adds significant incremental potential

While historically Nisa fascia stores have tended to be a minimum of 2,000 sq ft (and not infrequently significantly larger), the Nisa Express package now offers Nisa members an opportunity to implement the full Nisa store makeover in smaller stores around the 1,000 sq ft mark, which have typically been the preserve of other symbol groups, such as Booker’s Premier.  Such smaller units are in fact more numerous than larger stores across the UK, so the ability to cater more effectively to their needs is a significant expansion opportunity for Nisa.

Three variants offer further flexibility

The Nisa Express package has been developed with three variant executions: forecourt, food-centric and essentials, to provide relevance to a range of different location types.  The first ‘live’ Nisa Express execution is a forecourt now open at Bedford and operated by the Ascona Group which joined Nisa in May this year.  The food-centric variant has been developed for city/town centres with a focus on food for now and evening meals, while the essentials variant is targeted to neighbourhood locations.  With local stores having played such a prominent role during the lockdown, ‘essentials’ is perhaps where the potential for Nisa Express is greatest, offering a chilled and grocery range alongside alcohol and services such as Post Office.

Darren May, Head of Format, Nisa commented:

‘Our new Nisa Express format is designed to meet the needs of Nisa partners who operate smaller stores but who want to ensure their business is contemporary, has the right look and feel and provides their customers with the best shopping environment.  We want to ensure all partners have access to a Nisa fascia and format that complements their individual offering and location, and we believe this is achievable with the Nisa Express format.  From a format perspective this was a gap we had been seeking to fill and the way the market is moving, the opportunity to make more of compact spaces is becoming ever more important.’