Can new market formula pull Real out of slump?

Can new market formula pull Real out of slump?
real,- SB-Warenhaus GmbH/Carlos Albuquerque

Metro Group's waning German hypermarket chain Real has unveiled a spectacular new store formula last week, focusing on fresh food experience and technology.

Investment worth millions

The front has a big sign ‘Markthalle Krefeld’ (Market hall Krefeld), with Real only mentioned in small print below. Metro Group is boastful about the new formula, with statements like "the future of shopping". The covered market is part of Real's new strategy: "We did not want to evolve our existing formula, but to create something entirely new, never-before-seen in Germany", Real's co-manager Henning Gieseke said. "That is why we chose a new name and a new corporate design.”


Those were definitely necessary, because hypermarkets like Real have been under a lot of pressure over the past few years. The chain has even been labeled Metro's "troubled child", but this entirely new store, which cost millions, has to turn the tide and become a blueprint for Real's future: it promises more emotion, sharp pricing and more experience. The board looked to Japan and the United States for inspiration, although they might also have taken a look at Carrefour in the Belgian city of Mons, as there are similarities to be found. 


Fresh market

An extensive range of hospitality features is the main idea in the 11,500 sqm hypermarket: it will house a piazza with 110 seats and a winter garden with 70 seats where people can eat. Its product range will change depending on the seasons and food will be prepared fresh, right in front of the consumer. The fresh market will also have plenty of choice: salad bar, a pizzeria, oyster bar, sushi, grill, vegetarian, bio, confectionery, coffee roasting, a wine bar, ...


Markthalle Krefeld will also innovate in its non-food area: the Innovation Lounge will present the newest digital trends, featuring the newest smartphones, tablets, televisions and gaming consoles. A bike area with repair opportunities and a "My Family" area are also present. The latter includes everything you would need for your child's first few years on this planet, from the pregnancy to its first day of school.


The hypermarket will focus heavily on service, which is why it hired 70 new employees. Obviously, it will also have free WiFi, contact-free payments and customers can also get their receipt on their smartphone. Starting next year, a pick-up point will be added, where customers can pick up their orders made at