Tout's Cleeve (15)

Described as owners Jon and Zena’s “baby”, Tout’s of Cleeve in Bristol has been years in the planning, and all that hard work has certainly paid off.

The team aimed to blend elements of a supermarket, farm shop, and discount store while maintaining cleanliness and high standards. The store design focused on hero categories like flowers, produce, meat, and bakery, creating an authentic and specialist feel within a supermarket setting.

The store opened in summer 2022 and wowed people with its focus on fresh, local produce and details that set it apart from traditional stores. A feature wall full of flowers was one such detail that created a unique vibe for the store, although the team have had to balance design with function 18 months on. Noticing that some of the outdoor plants weren’t lasting as long as they should, the staff moved them to outside the store, halving the space of the feature wall which now just contains indoor plants. The space created is now being used as a seasonal lines display area although the greenery is still a talking point.

“We wanted to create a space that felt welcoming and inviting,” says manager Stephanie Featherstone. “That’s why we’ve focused on incorporating plants and greenery into the store’s design. It’s all about creating a positive and uplifting experience for our customers.

“The new space beside it is called it the H zone. It’s our way of showcasing our best deals and value items, like our price-lock items and seasonal specials.”

One of the store’s USPs is its commitment to local suppliers and producers. From fresh produce sourced daily from nearby markets to artisanal bread delivered fresh every morning, the store prides itself on supporting local businesses and providing customers with the finest quality products. The business collaborates with 77 local suppliers and offering over 740 locally sourced products

Stephanie says that while they have the local supplier angle down to a tee, they want to grow the core grocery lines among shoppers. “That’s our focus moving forward. Shoppers know that they can get local lines here but we want to grow the basket spend with cupboard essentials.”

To help with this, the team has started working with Booker as well as Nisa in order to secure the best possible prices across their range.

Tout's Cleeve (9)

Even an award-winning store can suffer from crime and Tout’s Cleeve had its share of thieves targeting the business. “We were losing thousands and it wasn’t people shoplifting essentials, they were targeting our spirits section.”

The situation got so bad that they had to move the entire spirits section closer to the checkout so staff could keep an eye on it. “We didn’t want put it behind the till or under lock and key as that would have put customers off so we moved it so staff can see it and that’s reduced theft.”

The team also invested in a security guard as a deterrent, and worked with the local police to help tackle the issue which has yielded results.

Moving the spirits section also benefitted the business as it was looking to fill a potential gap in their store due to the refill section not performing as well as anticipated. “We had hoped the refill range would do well but it just didn’t resonate with our customers and we found that we were wasting more products which defeated the purpose of it.”

Being a new store meant that the marketing message to customers had to be strong and Tout’s utilised several communication channels, including leaflet door drops, loyalty programs, social media, and in-store tastings, to engage with shoppers effectively.

The store embraced various technologies like electronic shelf labels (eSEL’s), Assisted Ordering, home delivery, and PowerBI for operational efficiency, inventory management, and customer engagement. It has also expanded its loyalty scheme by offering it at the new store and recruited an additional 5,654 Tout’s cardholders, who spend on average over £8 more per transaction than a non-cardholder.

Tout's Cleeve (10)

Being the group’s flagship store, enabled Tout’s to go big on the Maple Kitchen offering, its own food to go brand. The range is prepared by onsite chefs to give it that extra touch of quality.