Posted: 11/09/2017

Convenience hybrid powers into regenerated Battersea site

BatterseaSpeciality food and convenience retailing have converged in a new 6,500 sq ft shop that has opened in the £9bn regenerated Battersea Power Station, in south-west London.

The Battersea General Store, owned by Raj Bathia, is a hybrid of a Nisa-serviced convenience store and a high-quality speciality food retailer and delicatessen.

Bathia, who also owns the smaller 2,000 sq ft The Marketplace Store at nearby Chelsea Bridge, called the format a “global local store” that combined everyday convenience with speciality food.

Nisa supplies just over a third of the goods but the remainder is sourced locally and from around the globe.

“I offer a merging of convenience items,” said Bathia. “I have normal everyday cheeses such as President or Leerdammer and speciality cheeses flown in from France, and we offer them side by side.”

The convenience and speciality items are merchandised on different shelves; the latter also feature information cards.

Local sources include New Covent Garden Market and several microbreweries.

“We bring products in from small factories in Italy – from crackers to biscuits – and we have a crisp producer in Spain that does amazing olive oil crisps,” said Bathia.

“We have up to 75 suppliers and 10-15 different orders that have to be done on a daily basis.”

Bathia’s other store is a mini version of the Battersea model and he would like to open more, although not for expansion’s sake.

“I’m not interested in a chain of 10 stores,” he said. “We would rather take the right opportunity at the right time. We are not in a rush to multiply. That’s not what we’re about.

“You’ve got to get to know the customers, see how they react, tweak it, put your heart and soul into it. That creates a business.”

Bathia said both convenience and speciality food retailing were becoming more sophisticated.

“There are so many new artisan producers, microbreweries and small cheesemakers that have emerged and there’s a big trend towards that now which is forcing retailers to accept and understand that demand and fulfil it.”

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