Just a few months ago, there was a lot of talk about social shopping centers, which not only gave the opportunity to do shopping, but also cared about our entertainment, allowed to spend time in an interesting way. Will this trend be maintained in the "pocovid era"? Will the tenants themselves still choose such spaces for the locations of their shops? This is what we are talking about with Robert Boguszewski, CEO of the KiK chain, which will soon reach 350 stores in Poland and announces further development. KiK is the exhibitor of the autumn edition SCF 2020 CEE.
KiK Poland closed the first half of 2020 with 342 stores. This means that the estimated increase in the brand's sales space over the last year was 24 percent. - exactly the same as the year before. Therefore, does KiK intend to maintain this result also next year?
- We're expanding. For several years now, we have been gradually increasing the number of our stores in Poland and there is no indication that this approach is going to change. Probably if it wasn't for the pandemic, we could talk about growth at a different level than 24% today, but we should focus on the "here and now". Looking through the prism of the last six months, I can say that only issues beyond our control can limit us. We want to expand our chain, and what is more, we know that the customers themselves are also counting on it - says Robert Boguszewski, General Director of the KiK store chain and adds: thanks to the commitment of the KiK team, the first "pocovid" openings of new KiK stores took place just days after the restrictions were lifted. This only confirms that we are prepared to implement our plans.
Diversification of locations
Until now, KiK shops could be found both in large shopping malls, smaller convenience centres and in the form of stand-alone shops located by the promenades - has the pandemic brought some conclusions as to which locations are more advantageous from a KiK perspective?
- For many years our strategy has been based on some diversification of locations. In practice, this means that we choose different locations - both smaller and larger towns, large galleries and small retail parks. There is one condition: the customer remains at the centre of our activities. Our team of expansion managers is perfectly aware of which locations are suitable for us and, taking into account certain standards, finds places where we can be as close as possible to our customers," explains KiK's CEO and adds: I think that the last few months have confirmed our conviction that this diversification of locations is the right strategy. Thanks to this, some of our stores have been able to function despite the current restrictions, of course with all safety rules. Moreover, due to their specificity, convenience centres will be back on the "normal" track faster than large mixed-use shopping malls. This does not mean that the market will turn 180 degrees and begin to withdraw from this concept. Even before the appearance of COVID-19, a parallel development of extreme areas of the market could be observed - both small retail parks with several tenants and shopping centres with a huge portfolio of shops, a foodcourt zone, co-working space and a cinema. KiK appeared in both types of locations and we do not intend to give up on this, as evidenced by the recent openings - last month we appeared in Brzęczki Park in Mysłowice on the one hand and in Galeria Kupiecka in Otwock on the other.
Opportunity for discounters
Some people predict that the events of recent months are a kind of opportunity for discounters. After all, the customer will probably start paying even more attention to his budget. Have such predictions changed KiK objectives in any way, influenced the planned development of the network?
- Discounts or "value retailers" are places that were very popular even before the pandemic. Although expectations of Poles were gradually increasing, the attractive price still played a major role. Especially when it comes to the so-called basic products, which are the basis of our textile range. Customers were interested in them and that has not changed. Maybe there was just one more use for more or less formal stylizations - basic products are also great in the home office - comments Robert Boguszewski with a light smile. - Thanks to our price policy, which is included in the slogan "permanently low prices" we do not force the customer to make compromises - at KiK you can buy what is fashionable, good quality and, what is more, inexpensive. And this actually allows us to look at the current stage that the retail sector has entered with confidence. However, commenting on recent events, I would rather say that they have not so much helped our development as prevented it," concludes KiK's CEO.
KiK has been consistently implementing its development plans on the Polish market. Although the brand declares an individualised approach to determining the potential of each location, certain guidelines remain unchanged. Among them, the preferred retail space is at least 650 sq.m, comfortable access to a minimum of 15 parking spaces, as well as the possibility of attractive external display of goods. The vicinity of food operators, drugstores or popular trade shops is also important. Only in August will the chain debut in Chorzów, Wieliczka and Solec Kujawski. What next? Time will tell, but KiK emphasizes that it is open to business proposals that fit into the above concept.