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ColumnsWhy the hypermarket’s not dead

Why the hypermarket’s not dead

At a time when hypermarkets are struggling in numerous international markets, many express the opinion that “the hypermarket is dead.” Contrary to this, Grupo Éxito, the leading retailer in Colombia, has revolutionized the channel following the launch of its Éxito Wow banner in 2018. Here are some of the initiatives it has put in place to drive growth and return on investment.


Using foodservice to create destination areas

In-store space has been re-purposed to make way for a new foodservice offer. This is helping the retailer increase dwell time, with many customers visiting the store with the primary mission of having lunch with friends. This is having a halo effect on the sale of groceries. The offer features a street-food area, as well as La Cocina (The Kitchen), where chefs produce a wide range of restaurant-quality meals.

Implementing coworking spaces

Customers can work or study in designated coworking spaces. These areas are kept separate from the restaurant seating area and are clearly signposted. Power and USB charging are provided, in addition to the store’s free Wi-Fi. Those using the areas are likely to make purchases from the nearby bakery and café.


Creative private-label merchandising

Following a review of its private-label range that led to strengthening brands and improving product quality, the retailer has seen its private-label penetration grow to 16.5 per cent in 2021 (up from 14 per cent in 2016). This is despite stiff competition from Colombia’s thriving discount channel. As part of the initiative, the retailer has dedicated more prominent sales space to its health-focused Taeq brand, signposting it with “Vida Sana” (healthy lifestyle) messaging.


Tapping into shoppers’ interest in health and wellness

Grupo Éxito is taking a stronger stance on promoting healthier choices. Its Green Chef island offers a wide range of salad bowls, juices and smoothies, all prepared freshly in front of the customer. It also offers pre-chopped fruit jars and tubs.


Collaborating with brand partners

The retailer works closely with brand partners to create impressive fixtures and visual merchandising that grab shoppers’ attention along the entire in-store journey. The pet brand Kanú uses a tree and Astroturf to give an outdoorsy feel. AB InBev, owner of Aguila (the no.1 beer in Colombia), features a bold and brightly coloured bar design to bring its brand to life on an aisle end. Alpina (a Colombian dairy company) operates a yogurt bar, serving its yogurts with freshly chopped fruit.  


Grupo Éxito uses inspirational design features to create memorable shopping experiences. Toys is a key focus. In one store, children can stand inside a large rocket with sounds and digital projections that simulate flying through space. Another store features a slide that children are invited to use, and a third provides soft furniture where children can sit and browse the store’s book collection. After implementing these features, the retailer doubled its sales in the category.


Stewart Samuel is the Canada Program Director at IGD and an expert on Canadian and U.S. food retailer strategies and market trends.

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