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The new store concept for Wine Rack is to be officially unveiled on November 7 in West Byfleet, Surrey when owners, Conviviality Retail, open the doors to what it hopes will be a new retail wine offer to high street wine buyers.
It is only two months since the company behind Bargain Booze took over the remaining Wine Rack stores from Venus PLC.
The new West Byfleet store is the first in what will be a roll out of what Wine Rack hopes will be “an easier and more enjoyable” way to buy wine.
Harpers.co.uk has had a look behind the scenes this week with store manager, Jim Green, who explained the core features of the store which includes a temperature controlled fine wine area and a purpose built tasting area with LCD TV, where it plans to run Skype-based “meet the winemaker” masterclasses over the web.
Another first for the business will be an area for Olive Oils and Riedel glasses, situated on a purpose built floor display of pastel coloured units based around a central floor column.
This new concept store will be used as a template for future branches, including existing franchisees within Bargain Booze that meet the standards of a Wine Rack business.
The launch has also given resident MW, Susan McCraith, her first opportunity to showcase the revamped Wine Rack range.
McCraith told Harpers.co.uk: “I’m looking for diversity in all price points, styles, from entry level to top.”
Wine Rack said the new store has “clearer signposting, improved merchandising, stronger imagery which features growing regions and producers and an enhanced brand identity with a softer colour palette in a bid to widen Wine Rack’s appeal.”
Diana Hunter, chief executive of Conviviality Retail, said “Wine Rack is a strong retail brand that is recognised by customers and has the potential for future growth. Our new store format breaks down the barriers that sometimes exist when shopping the wine category and will be the model for all new sites.”
Wine Rack’s new identity and imagery will be featured across point-of-sale to be introduced to the chains existing 22 stores.
It is also re-vamping its website – www.winerack.co.uk – to include a ‘click and reserve’ option where customers can choose to order online and pick up a bottle in store.
A fully-transactional mobile version of the site will be live before the end of year.
Hunter added: “our team has been working hard over the last two months to re-invigorate what Wine Rack offers its customers, from the in-store experience to the strength and depth of the wine range. We are very pleased with how quickly we’ve managed to make progress ahead of Christmas and our stores are gearing up for this important trade period.”
“All of the investment we’re putting into Wine Rack will strengthen the brand and prepare it for being made available to franchisees in 2014. We’re testing a range of new ideas and concepts which we think will increase sales and lead to exciting opportunities for everyone involved with the brand.”
The West Byfleet store will open at 3pm on November 7 and Hatch Mansfield has been signed up to conduct the first consumer tasting with a selection of its wines.
Story by Me and Richard Siddle – Chief Editor Harpers Wine & Spirit. Story featured in Harpers.co.uk.