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A total of 14 SPAR stores were remodelled into the Albert supermarket format in the first wave of transformation during autumn last year. We are pleased with the performance of the stores and the positive customer feedback. We received, for example 94% of our customers positively rate the quality of meat after rebranding and 96% of customers say that they can find plenty of Czech products at Albert.
For the INTERSPAR stores we have carefully selected the best attributes from Albert and INTERSPAR, resulting in the best offering in the Czech market. We have made only minor changes in the stores, as the INTERSPAR stores were well perceived and loved by customers. The former INTERSPAR customers will therefore after the rebranding see all the main attributes as they were before, but now available to lower prices.
In the new offering, our customers will see a wider bakery department, now including products from the local bakers making the excellent bread using traditional recipes, whereas we also continue with the well appreciated own bakery production. On the other hand, the fresh meat, sausages and delicatessen department has remained unchanged, as its concept is very popular among customers, so people will see the same butchers serving the same quality meat cuts” says Jesper Lauridsen, CEO of the Albert chain.
“However, in addition to the lowered prices, we have added some improvements coming from the Albert brand. In particular, the fresh produce department underwent major changes, which is now arranged in the style of a real marketplace. Here customers can find products grown by local farmers, but exotic fruits as well,” adds Jesper Lauridsen.
In addition to a major visual transformation of original SPAR stores, the layout of the space has also changed, as well as the composition of the range of goods and arrangement of selected store departments or assortment, which was expanded to include Albert’s own brands, i.e. BASIC, Albert Quality, Albert Excellent and Albert Bio.
There will also be positive changes for the Albert brand coming from this acquisition, as we’re also implementing strong elements from INTERSPAR to the Albert stores. So far we have already launched the popular INTERSPAR meat brand and introduced a Czech specialty meat line supported by cooperation with Mr. Pohlreich into Albert stores. We will also soon introduce the specialty own brands lines Freefrom and Veggie which are highly appreciated by customers, and we have already establish several popular wines in the Albert stores, inspired by the former INTERSPAR assortment. Our customers will see many more improvements of this type coming in the remainder of the year.
With the increasing number of stores, Albert also expanded cooperation with regional suppliers. “Cooperation with local suppliers is key for us. We are responding to growing customer demand in domestic foods from their favourite manufacturers. Through these local suppliers, which we specifically promote at the point of sale, we have managed to achieve a greater connection with the local community,” adds Jesper Lauridsen.
In addition to regional bakers, Albert also works closely with Czech farmers and partners, who specialise in the fruit and vegetable segment. These connect Albert with growers in the shortest way possible, in order to ensure their products get to individual stores as fresh as possible. Thus Albert is also trying to ensure maximum freshness of all food sold within the entire supply chain. The products of domestic growers, such as strawberries, raspberries, potatoes or apples, appear on Albert store shelves within 24 hours of harvest. Therefore, goods from Czech suppliers outweigh others in the product range.
In 2014, the Albert retail chain won the prestigious National Quality Award of the Czech Republic in the EXCELLENCE programme. This category is intended for companies that achieve and maintain a consistently high level of performance.