Layout of Delhaize De Leeuw supermarket in Ouderghem, Belgium The Delhaize Group operates over 400 retail outlets in Belgium, of which there are around 100 local Delhaize De Leeuw supermarkets. Delhaize supermarkets compete both by choices of location, which are convenient for frequent shoppers, and by the quality of the products and service. To remain profitable every Delhaize manager must maximize the revenue and contribution per square metre but must also minimize the costs of operating the store, in terms of material handling and checkout productivity, for example.
The Ouderghem supermarket has a somewhat unusual layout, having two entry points and two exit points. In common with most supermarket designs, the checkouts are positioned near the outside wall, but during most of the day only a few are used. Newspapers are sold near the checkout queues, so that customers can catch up with the news while waiting. Checkout operators face into the store, towards the queue, to emphasize the need to work quickly when there is a queue. The store has 10 checkouts – a very large number for a store of only 1500 square metres. This is because there is a large peak of sales in the early evening, and long queues at the checkout would be unacceptable.
Delhaize uses relatively wide aisles between the shelves, to ensure good flows of trolleys, but this has been at the expense of reduced shelf space which would allow a wider range of products to be stocked. The actual location of all the products is a critical decision, directly affecting the convenience to customers, their level of spontaneous purchases, and the costs of filling the shelves. The overall layout of the supermarket has separate, clearly marked self-service areas for packaged food, drinks, fruit and vegetables, and household items.
The served delicatessen area (which sells products with above-average margins) is positioned centrally so that most shoppers must pass it. The displays of fruit and vegetables are located adjacent to the main entrance, as a signal of freshness and wholesomeness, providing an attractive and welcoming point of entry. High-turnover, ‘essential’, known-value items such as rice, pasta, sugar and oil are positioned centrally and visibly, so that they are easy to find. Profitable, fast-moving items are displayed at eye level, both to help the customer and to make restocking easier for the employees.
Conversely, low-margin and low-turnover items are placed low down. Bulky or heavy products, such as packs of beer, are located near the storage area to facilitate restocking. Frozen foods are located at the ends of aisles, near the checkouts, so that they can be purchased last. In some supermarkets, these positions are only used for promotions, as customers move slower around the ends of aisles and the goods on display can be seen from most directions. Question
How can the operations manager improve the layout type used in the supermarket? What are the enhancements