Friday, December 18, 2009

Tesco Opens Zero-carbon Supermarket

Latest green effort by British grocery company

U.K.-based grocery retailer Tesco has opened a location that it says is the world’s first “zero-carbon” supermarket. Located in Ramsey, England, the store was built on a frame made from sustainable timber and has skylights calibrated to allow in natural lighting without raising the heat level. Other features include through strategically located vents that use outside air to reduce cooling expenses; an on-site generator that runs on renewable materials, including spent vegetable oil; and low-emissions refrigeration units.

In September, Tesco subsidiary Fresh & Easy opened its first LEED gold certified store, located in Cathedral City, Calif. When compared to energy used at other supermarkets, Fresh & Easy uses roughly 32 percent less energy per square foot across its 130 locations.

For the third quarter ended November 28, the supermarket giant reported same-stores sales in the U.K. rose 2.8 percent. Group sales during the period increased 8.8 percent. “Our investment in growth - in new space and from the two acquisitions last year - is providing us with good momentum and a strong platform for the future,” says ceo Sir Terry Leahy.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Neeru's Facade Presentation

McDonald's rolls out 'green' logo in Europe

McDonald’s Corp. said Monday it is swapping its traditional red backdrop for a deep hunter green to promote a more eco-friendly image in Europe.

According to the quick-serve chain, about 100 German McDonald's restaurants will make the change by the end of 2009. Some franchises in Great Britain and France have already started using the new color scheme.

"This is not only a German initiative but a Europe-wide initiative," Martin Nowicki, McDonald's Germany spokesman, told The Associated Press.

McDonald’s has more than 32,000 restaurants in 118 countries and has long been targeted by activists as being environmentally unfriendly.

Still, in recent years the company has warmed to "greener" practices, including environmentally friendly refrigeration and converting used oil into biodiesel fuel.

"With this new appearance we want to clarify our responsibility for the preservation of natural resources. In the future we will put an even larger focus on that," Hoger Beek, vice chairman of McDonald's Germany, said in the statement.

In Germany, McDonald's has seen significant growth despite the global economic crisis, opening 42 new restaurants this year for a total of 1,350.

The chain plans to open another 40 new restaurants across Germany in 2010, encouraged by a worldwide revenue of $23.5 billion.

Green with Envy ( Press release )

Friday, September 4, 2009

Envy is now open'- Envy's first flagship store, opened last month in Saket - DLF Mall, Delhi

'Envy is now open'- Envy's first flagship store, opened last month in Saket - DLF Mall, Delhi. Its a womenswear 'fashion' store. DFC's team conceptualised and designed graphics, signage, brand communication, store concept, fixtures, lighting, and interiors. Playful yet mature forms, use of brand colour as an accent and yet clean and meaningful elements have given this store of 1000 sft, a differentiated look amongst 'corporate' and 'mundane' stores in Indian Malls. The store lets women envjoy their shopping and makes them engage with merchandise and all that is vanity and good looking elements for women.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Design strategy for Downturn

As the well-known architect Charles Eames put it, “Design is a plan for arranging elements in such a way as best to accomplish a particular purpose.” And retail, simply, is the sum total of various elements to boost consumption. Unfortunately For a few Retailers in India, retailing is still defined by the number of outlets that house a brand rather than the presentation of the brands.

Today, well-known retailers such as Selfridges and Harrods are taking the ‘recession’ opportunity to redesign and remodel their stores. It is no news that through the design history, many of the most exciting periods have been during economic downturns. The result? Consumers develop the interest of simply ‘checking out’ the ‘new’ store, and end up buying the products. The first element on the brand strategy, ‘design’, has hardly been given its due till date. Design can establish the most-specific purpose of attracting footfalls, especially when the consumers are cutting down on their spending budget.

Shantanu Saha, CEO, Idiom Design and Consulting Pvt Ltd explains, “Design is an intrinsic part of the overall brand strategy and should not be the last point. Retail design is not about creating attractive shops that have no walk-ins.”

Mukul Kulkarni of Caem India believes that ‘design always holds the competitive edge’ in any business, be it retail, architecture, interior, product design, textile, furniture, packaging or be it graphic design.

In tough times though, while the retailers are looking for alternatives to push sales, they are also cautious of spending the moolah on redesigning or remodelling their stores. Lara Balsara, business development and diversification manager, Madison+rkd retail iQ offers the alternative, “Store design is generally taken to mean environmental change and often involves structural changes to a building in which the internal shape of a space is altered. In consequence, it tends to be expensive.”

Vivekanandan G, head - operations, Four Dimensions Retail Design (I) Pvt Ltd is of the view that the retailers, earlier, were certainly spending lot of money on design to be competitive. But with the changing scenario, it is really important to decide what needs to be done and what can commercially be held back or delayed until the economic situation improves.

S Sundar, MD, Dovetail, explains, “Once retailers are reasonably certain that their product mix and pricing is correct, and the location is still relevant, they would then look at the store ambience and seek to improve it. They would need to work within tight budgets and focus on improving the customer shopping experience rather than wowing them with the brand story.”

Vikram Rao, director marketing and business development, Future Research Design Company (FRDC) Pvt Ltd is of the view that at the time when cash flow is a problem, “Retailing can explore new design concepts and revaluate their stand on the design aspect. Healthy economic trends tend to be non-beneficial to exploring new concepts, as the focus areas are bottom line driven.” And he states the well-known fact that retail in India has not graduated to a level where the design element and store planning has yet been identified as a catalyst to the growth of the bottom line. The retailers also would want that the money they invest on the store per square foot also gives them return.

The three vibrant elements that include the store deign planning include: entrance and visibility, support of store prototype, store circulation requirements and product displays.

Capping the Costs

The technology of AC used, lighting etc has to be questioned with respect to the design being proposed. “Think long term. Invest in better technology than going for cheap versions,” suggests Rao. Retail design shelf life should be now taken as 10 years, as compared to four-five years earlier. Once you do this, long term investment will work better.

Retailers might agree to relook their design strategy to attract the consumers and increase footfall. But how do they keep the costs low to ensure maximum benefits? The scope for cost-cutting exists in every element of design and is a challenge to the design firm as well as the retailer. Many-a-times just a moderate part of redoing a store in terms of colour palate, lighting and some fixture movement can bring a fresh new visual approach without going on a spending spree. One can create the best effects by quick and easy visual enhancements, an updated paint job with a new corporate identity or high-impact graphics for effects or simply by sporting newly designed fixtures/shelving.

These quick-fix solutions also ensure that the store does not remain non-operational for long. “While the fundamentals of store design are still valid, the focus of remodelling a store would be to change or improve on the more impermanent elements, than redo the complete interior,” says Sundar of Dovetail.

Going forward

As the real estate costs start to pinch retailers, who are still concerned with topline growth, optimum utilisation of the space inside the store will be increasingly sought. “We might see a shift to more modularised interior elements, so that if the location does not work then most of the interior can be dismantled and reinstalled in another location. We could see new materials used that are cheap and exciting, that have not normally been associated with retail interiors,” thinks Sundar of Dovetail.

Perhaps the greatest challenge is to provide enough on-floor stocking in order to limit the usage of stockroom space since that the retailers pay square footage rent for that space. The retailers, want as much merchandise attractively displayed on the floor. Thus, shelves and hanging bars are incorporated into the design scheme to keep stockroom space limited to 15 to 20 per cent of the total leased space. It is also important that at least 90 per cent of store’s merchandise can be seen on the shop floor.

Sundar further adds that the responsive shopfit providers would modify their product-service propositions accordingly based on their revised market positioning – are they the cheapest, the best quality, most proactive, and so on. We may see companies offering a more all round service that could include complete design and execution with the idea being a better coordination and therefore a faster time frame, quicker decision making and elimination of non-value-adding time, effort and communication.

As an essential part of design, visual merchandising enables the retailer to constantly evolve the overall look and feel in tandem with changing market scenario. This can be a key selling tool and yet be extremely cost effective. The in-built basic visual merchandising hotspots and techniques in the store design itself might appeal more to the store visitors.

As Scott Adams famously said, “Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Design is about knowing which ones to keep. But do not repeat your mistakes.” The coming months will be very interesting in terms of innovation within constraints in store design. Happy Designing for Recession!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

DFC unveiled 'Retail Operative Platform' at In Store Asia 2009

'DFC unveiled 'Retail Operative Platform' at In Store Asia 2009, held in Bangalore, between 16th and 18th July'2009. The response was good and encouraging. Retail Companies in FMCG, Service, Lifestyle and other sectors, showed particular interest in this concept.'


Award-DFC won Merit award for 'Best Store Design' for 'Eka' store, under <5000 sft category. Eka, is a curioshop, designed by DFC in 2008. The store located in Bangalore, is designed using 'Green' Design philosophy.

Friday, July 3, 2009

FRDC is unveiling ROP-'Retail Operative Platform

FRDC is unveiling ROP-'Retail Operative Platform', in strategic alliance with Crea International, Italy. Please meet us at D-5,In store Asia,BIEC, Bangalore between 16th and 18th July 2009.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Starbucks Aims for LEED-Certified New Stores

eattle-based Starbucks Corp. announced that the company aims to earn LEED certification on all new company-owned stores beginning in 2010. Among the company’s eco-friendly goals for all new company-owned stores are that 50 percent of each store’s energy be derived from renewable sources, and that they will be 25 percent more energy efficient. The company has set long-term goals, including replacing all stores’ incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs and ensuring 100 percents of its cup supply is reusable or recyclable by 2015. Beyond the energy-saving measures, the company aims to give its stores a more local feel. All new and renovated stores, beginning in 2010, will tap the skills of local craftsmen and use materials associated with the store’s neighborhood.

One recently built store that reflects this new strategy is the company’s First Avenue and Pike Street store in Seattle, opened in March 2009. The bar’s leather fa├žade is made of scrap leather from local shoe and automobile factories, the cabinets from fallen trees in the Seattle area, and the community table from a nearby restaurant. “We recognize the importance of continuously evolving with our customers’ interests, lifestyles and values in order to stay relevant over the long term,” said Arthur Rubinfeld, president of Starbucks Global Development. “Ultimately, we hope customers will feel an enhanced sense of community, a deeper connection to our coffee heritage and a greater level of commitment to environmental consciousness.”