Flexstores: the next trend in store design

Adaptability for all formats

The Flexstore concept brings together a range of ideas, many of which have been used over the years to overcome design challenges for various Interstore | Schweitzer, including Texas grocer HEB and upscale British food retailer Waitrose.

“Over the past four or five years, one of the largest German food retailers and retailers and the largest Swiss retailer, together with us, decided to deepen the technical development of what we now call Flexstore, with all these different elements and components, how to solve the drainage problem for the refrigerated counters, how to work and have the possibility of moving around the store with electricity, water supply and the need in the service departments, and things like that,” Interstore | Schweitzer CEO Bernhard Schweitzer tells in an exclusive interview with Progressive Grocer from his company’s offices in northern Italy. “And so these two big retailers in Switzerland and Germany have financed these developments, and in 2020, at EuroShop, we were allowed to present to the public what we have developed over the past four, five years. It is therefore a sum of different technologies.

One of the main motivations for developing Flexstore, he notes, was to continually hear merchants asking, “Please give us a tool, give us something that will allow us… to adapt the layouts constantly… with the right equipment, to change the composition and position of certain shelves. , enlarge certain departments. We must have the opportunity to do so.

Additionally, the German retailer noted earlier was “buying over 100 department stores and didn’t want to completely renovate them, but wanted to incorporate completely new service departments,” says Schweitzer. “And with this idea of ​​the Flexstore, where everything is plug and play, we were able to produce these shelves in a very, very short time, bring them and position them in the stores without changing the rest of the store too much. So these possibilities to be completely flexible in strategic decisions and to be very, very, very quick in the realization of these ideas, are for sure today one of the main motivations for retailers to use Flexstore.

Because the concept incorporates “the kind of technologies that allow us to be extremely fast during the construction period,” he continues, the company was able to reduce on-site construction time by around 40%.

Additionally, while the Orangeville Sobeys is not a small-format store, the Flexstore concept can work for retail spaces of any size, including smaller locations. “Especially for smaller formats, flexibility is becoming more and more important,” Schweitzer told PG. “In a big store, yes, it’s important to be flexible, but if you have the wrong assortment or the wrong combination of shelves in a small store, it can really, really hurt. And having the ability to adapt that is pretty important.

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