Opened in mid-December 2017, this Carrefour in Warsaw represents a novel proposition, designed to allow shoppers to utilise a raft of digital solutions, access the full range of Carrefour products despite the store’s limited footprint and access some rather lovely food-for-now facilities.

Trading from only 22,000 sq. ft., the store offers a relatively modest range of 13,000 food SKUs. Non-food is very limited, constrained to fairly narrow assortments in categories such as stationery, toys, kitchen and household.

The fresh area, truly a state-of-the-art proposition, boasts an excellent bakery, beautiful produce area and very convincing credentials in health & wellness. There is a great section devoted to organics and free-from items, while the service counters (fish, meat and deli) are delivered with real panache. I know that there are a number of welfare debates over the use of live fish tanks, but regardless of these, the visual impact is undeniable.

Pleasing merchandising touches are included throughout the fresh area of the store. One example would be the relatively generous treatment handed to fresh herbs. So often commoditised, underused and overlooked, the store treats them as a standalone feature of no small merit. See also the pillar devoted to honey.

This is very satisfying attention to detail and a great example of what can happen when store designer gives the right amount of consideration to what works for the category and what works for the shopper rather than what works for their colleagues’ spreadsheets.

Alongside fresh – right in the heart of the store – is the impressive restaurant area. As well as a vast range of salads, sushi, tapas, pastries and fresh fruit juices available pretty much all day, the restaurant counter also offer meals to order at lunchtime. In addition, this area represents a real centre point for the store around which the other departments emanate.

The BWS department is top-notch. A few hundred local beers are lovingly displayed in great fixtures. I’m not a beer drinker, so it’s all a little wasted on me, but I reckon beer aficionados would have a whale of a time in this place. Wines look great in handsome shelves replete with handwritten blackboard info panels, while the spirits section is topped off with an astonishing bit of POS from Dewar.

One the main features of the store is the deployment of technology that runs throughout it. Thanks to the 19 digital touchscreens that are arrayed throughout the salesfloor, shoppers are able to order any Carrefour products that are not available in the store via the Mon Carrefour app on their phones. Purchased items can be delivered to shoppers’ homes or are available via click & collect from the Coolomat outside the shopping centre.

The overall range encompasses 16,500 grocery lines and 6,000 GM products. The screens and the app are great, but I’m not 100% sure why shoppers wouldn’t just sit at home and order online in the first place. But I’m a middle-aged luddite, so probably not best placed to comment.

What I might be better placed to have an opinion on is the look and feel of the place. And it is stunning. A lovely coming together of neon, brickwork, metalwork and exposed utilities creates an atmosphere that manages to be both homely and contemporary. The use of main shelving units that run at a slant is a nice departure from rectangular conformity, just one more touch that means that this store is a total belter.

Bryan Roberts

Global Insights Director

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