Retail news: Tesco builds non-food offer

Tesco is set to roll out its mezzanine non-food concept across its biggest stores next year as part of an ongoing bid to make non-food items a core part of its offer.

Earlier this summer Tesco trialled the concept at a store in Barhill, Cambridgeshire, by adding 20,000ft2 to the premises to house extended electrical and home-entertainment ranges.

Tesco marketing director Tim Mason said the retailer was continuing to seek more space in its bigger stores to house non-food items.

The areas will also contain back-catalogue CDs and DVDs. The supermarket is aiming to counter criticism from specialist retailers that its range in such areas is too sparse and confined to mainstream selections.

The Barhill format features a number of interactive screens that show clips from selected DVDs and CDs, through a system that uses directional speakers, rather than headphones.

The initiative comes as Tesco trials its first non-food Tesco Homeplus stores, in Aberdeen and Manchester. The 30,000 ft2 outlets do not sell groceries.

Apart from the increasing non-food focus, Mason said Tesco's main challenge over the coming months would be to ensure it continued to react to consumers' changing purchasing habits, particularly with the ongoing high-street slowdown.

'There is a lot of evidence that consumer spending is being highly affected,' he said. 'If that turns out to be the case, this will be reflected in our trade in-store.'

Mason added that Tesco's Christmas campaign would have an in-store emphasis, focusing on its Finest ranges. 'Many people tend to upgrade to Finest over the Christmas period,' he said.

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