While the European food retailing industry has been building stores with an anticipated economic life of at least 15 years, as new channels enter the competition for consumers’ attention, the industry is starting to question whether it can afford to take such a long-term view. The convenience sector in North Western Europe, for example, will be particularly competitive in the coming years.
In addition, as technology enables consumers to feel more in control, they will be more demanding and discerning when it comes to food retailing. Satisfying tomorrow’s increasingly fragmented consumers will require closer customer relationships and a better understanding of their needs. In October 2001, the Europe Council conducted industry research to determine how to help retailers pursue the right competitive strategy for future success.