GENERAL APPEARANCE: This Total service station is located just off the M25 at junction 13 and at the entrance to Egham town centre. It is clearly identified by a corporate Total canopy and pole showing illuminated, competitive fuel prices.
FORECOURT: There is good access to the three islands of pumps; a range of fuels is available including Total Excellium. Each island was topped by ads for various special offers.
There is a double-bay jet wash to the side of the shop and a tyre air-line service is available.
For shopping customers, parking is not easy and I expect that at busy times of the day the forecourt can become quite congested.
It was quite windy on the day of my stealth check but it was still disappointing to see the amount of litter swirling about.
Up-front shop offers were limited to an ATM (out of order with two mechanics working on it), news (the display unit was rather untidy) and winter fuels.
SHOP: The shop has a fairly low-key fascia showing the ’Park & Shop’ logo. Inside there is a smallish shopping area tight on display space, but every part is utilised. In addition to the till area, shelving and cool cabinets, there is a wide variety of temporary display units.
The food-to-go area is straight ahead from the entrance but the Tchibo hot drinks machine was out of order. Although it was late lunchtime, I found the sandwich and cold savoury snack display a bit of a mess.
The standard packaged grocery and household range is pared down to the basics. There is a good range of confectionery, crisps, snacks and soft drinks. There is a tight but adequate range in the off licence section with a limited range of wines and beers in cool cabinets
In the news section there were several magazines that should be on the top shelf.
A few basic convenience ranges were missing (such as bake-off, hot food, flowers and produce), I guess as a result of space/supply limitations.
A Park & Shop own brand range of bagged sweets is available.
The shop felt in need of some TLC and attention to detail, for example, a Walkers display unit had a polythene wrapper discarded on top. It spoiled the whole effect!
There is no customer toilet but I was helpfully directed to a burger drive-thru unit on the opposite side of the road.
PROGNOSIS: One of the Park Group (now approaching 100 sites) convenience store formats is ’Park & Shop for daily essentials’. This ’symbol’ is being used on a growing number of the Group’s smaller shops. Like many businesses, the Park Group is developing a number of segmented store formats to ensure its sites have a targeted and appropriate offer to generate maximum performance from each outlet. No doubt this development is being worked together with Palmer & Harvey to whom the Park Group awarded the accolade of ’Supplier of the Year’ in January.
The main symbol groups in the UK have worked on their image and offers for many years and have built identities that they hope make them stand out from the crowd.
Perhaps it’s still early days for Park & Shop, but with yet more competitors wanting a share of the forecourt convenience store market, time is of the essence
DIAGNOSIS: The convenience store market continues to be highly competitive. As ever it is essential that retailers understand the needs of their customers and target their business accordingly. This means a focus on essentials, top-up lines, value and customer service.
PRESCRIPTION: The Runnymede Service Station starts with a huge plus. It occupies a great site, is clearly identified as a Total garage and its fuel prices are competitive.
The shop fascia should be more prominent. The logo ’Park & Shop for daily essentials’ could be stretched to completely fill the length of the shop front to have more impact.
The Park Group and Palmer & Harvey should look at the range of ’daily essentials’ stocked in this shop. The introduction of a promotion programme featuring certain areas like jet wash, meal deals and coffee should provide excitement to this shop.
The oft-repeated mantra ’retail is detail’ needs to be applied.
Finally, this shop would benefit from a dose of TLC.