Steve Bassett, who owns three Londis stores in Weymouth, Dorset, says that while a retailer may find it hard to see the benefits of having a refit, it's an important part of business and should be done right. "It's a hard thing to justify," says Steve. "A retailer won't see a magic figure that tells them how much extra they're taking in because of the refit. However, all stores need to undergo a makeover every few years. I would advise a retailer to set aside up to 20% of their profits, and then put this money towards a decent refit every five years or so."
He suggests that retailers shouldn't be afraid to get their hands dirty either. When there is a job to be done in his store that he feels he can handle, he's ready with a spanner and a spirit level. "It can work out cheaper to buy shelving over the internet and install it yourself. Buying from a fitter can cost around £140 per one metre bay but it can work out at £20 or £30 less over the internet. If you're fitting out six aisles with three or four bays in each one, that can save you a lot of money."
However, he warns that buying in fixtures yourself can create other problems. "Shelves you buy on the internet rarely come with epos ticket holders so they have to be budgeted for and it's also vital you pick the same shelving as you already have in the store or else it will look strange."
Steve's latest refit involved turning a former hardware store into a state-of-the-art convenience store. "There was a lot of work to be done on this one," says Steve. "It was basically an empty shell so the floor, ceiling and electrical fittings all had to be pulled out and replaced, as well as installing the new shelving. The entire job cost around £115,000 and took about two and a half weeks to complete. That may seem like a lot of money but every element of the store has been completely modernised and hopefully won't need to be updated for five to 10 years."
In order to get the best deal for the job, Steve and Londis shopped around the various shopfitters. "We picked our fitting company by using a tendering process," he says. "Basically, we looked at what we wanted done in the store and picked what we thought were the three best companies available to do the job. We were then able to pick the one that offered the best value for money."
He adds that for the job to be done right at the minimum cost, he had to make sure that every detail of the refit was thought out ahead. "If you just have a general idea about what you want to do it will cost you more to add details in while the refit is being done. When I'm having a refit done on my store, I even decide in advance how many plug sockets I want behind the tills as even though they are only a minor piece of work, a fitter will charge you extra for work added during the job."
Thankfully, all Steve's hard work paid off when he opened his new 2,200sq ft Londis store in Weymouth last month.