MBL opens pilot stores for brands

MBL has reached a milestone in the re-branding of its two retail symbol groups, Londis and Budgens, after opening pilot stores for each brand.

The first new-look Londis store opened in May, in Weymouth, and the Budgens pilot store was unveiled two weeks ago in Moreton-in-Marsh, despite floodwaters reaching its car park just days before the opening.

MBL marketing director Ross Halliday said the re-branding was not simply changing the look of the two symbol groups, but had been a major exercise looking at the fundamental strengths of each.

He said: “This has been the biggest ever investment in re-branding in the symbol sector.”

The process began more than 18 months ago looking at the consumer perceptions of the brands. Halliday said: “We found more brand equity than we expected, but neither had clarity in what they stood for. There was an inconsistent look and feel, and we identified a need to develop compelling brands that could compete in a sustainable manner.”

For Londis, Halliday said they developed a new look and feel which was used anywhere it touched the consumer, not just in-store but also from its lorries to carrier bags. The theme for the new look would be “All you need for everyday living”.

MBL also wanted to promote the identity of the retailer using their name on the store and POS material.

Staff training was also identified as a priority, and MBL will be providing rigorous training so that staff can develop expertise in areas such as advising customers on wine.

Looking at the brand essence of Budgens, said Halliday, the theme they identified was “real food for today’s communities”. He said typical Budgens customers were concerned about issues such as ethical concerns and food miles, so local sourcing would be one area highlighted with POS material. Again the name of the retailer would be used on and in the store.

Budgens is also launching a premium own label range, the first in the symbol sector, said Halliday.

Our Kitchen has been launched with 43 food lines, but will expand to 170 over the next year including areas such as beers, wines and spirits and food to go.

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