The preparation of the first discount variety retail chain HalfPrice (owned by the CCC Group) stores required the involvement of the entire team and took us almost a year. Everything had to be created from scratch from the idea, through adapting the space, to stocking up large stores, etc. Please remember that this year was needed to prepare the opening of as many as 60 stores. The pace is therefore express, says Karol Semik, Expansion Director, in an interview with Retailnet.
Where did the idea for the HalfPrice brand come from?
The off-price sales model came to us from the United States and Western Europe, where it is very popular. After the first openings of our stores, we can see that they delight consumers and encourage them to shop. We can see that this concept has been very well received in Poland, that is why we are planning its extensive expansion in the entire region of Central and Eastern Europe.
Before we move on to the plans and new openings, please tell us about the stores that are already in operation?
In one and a half months, we launched a total of 14 stores. Today, customers can shop in two stores under the HalfPrice brand in Warsaw, in the flagship newly opened in Wars Sawa Junior department store at Marszałkowska Street and in Galeria Północna. In addition, there are showrooms in Wrocław in Lower Silesia, Galaxy in Szczecin, M1 in Kraków, Galeria Korona in Kielce, Solaris in Opole, Galeria Platan in Zabrze, Galeria Warmińska in Olsztyn, Galeria Sarni Stok in Bielsko-Biała, Galeria Łódzka, Gemini Park in Tychy, Retail Park in Polkowice and Pogoria in Dąbrowa Górnicza. All stores operate under the sanitary regime.
And the wider expansion is ...?
We are planning a wide-ranging expansion. Apart from Poland, other regions of Central Europe are also at stake. The brand is interesting and we are convinced that it will also be well received in other markets. We will be present in the Czech Republic, Austria and Hungary by the end of the year.
60 stores only in Poland alone are ambitious plans?
60 stores is just the beginning and the plan is to be completed by the end of this year. Our plans are ambitious, but we believe that we will manage to implement them - incl. thanks to cooperation with landlords who support us in the process of starting a new network.
The format is indeed impressive in some cases the stores even have two floors?
It also makes us different. We plan to open stores with an area from 1 thousand up to 2.5 thousand sqm We choose attractive locations. HalfPrice stores are characterized by a clear and transparent layout that favors satisfactory shopping.
They are very similar to TK Maxx?
The company mentioned by you actually operates in the same segment as HalfPrice. However, we focus on the uniqueness of our project and our clients. We are building a coherent business plan, we have presented a new concept and we want consumers to feel good about it and be satisfied with their purchases from us.
The concept made its debut just after the lifting of the next lockdown. How was it received? Can we talk about the footfall results?
I can confirm that the concept is well received. One and a half months after the opening, we were visited by over 500,000. people! It is worth mentioning that we work in a strict sanitary regime, which means that a limited number of people can stay in the salon at a time. Therefore, we are all the more pleased with this result.
Do the landlords like this format too?
Definitely. We receive congratulations from landlords for creating such an original and unique concept from scratch in such a short time.
How long did the preparations for launching the brand take?
The preparation of the first stores required the involvement of the entire team and took us almost a year. Everything had to be created from scratch - from the idea, through adapting the space, to stocking up large stores, etc. Please remember that this year was needed to prepare the opening of as many as 60 stores. So the pace is express.
How did these negotiations go? Is it easy to introduce a new brand in such a difficult time for trading?
The talks were demanding, but invariably carried out with respect for the interests of both parties. At this difficult time, when galleries are badly damaged after the pandemic period, we came up with a new concept. We showed that we see development opportunities and we are open to cooperation. We want to support and build retail trade. We value our current relations with galleries. The relationships built by the CCC Group over the years have now paid off. Landlords trusted us because they knew that if we do something, it will be done right. In addition, HalfPrice is a modern concept that certainly makes the offer of shopping malls more attractive. All sides of the project benefit from the trafficked by the brand.
HalfPrice is a brand created for these times?
This is an idea for those times, but also the introduction of another segment in the CCC Group. This is the beginning of a new chapter for us. We have a creative Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Dariusz Miłek, who created this brand, and we, together with the entire team of the CCC Group, can implement a new, interesting idea. It motivates us to continue our work.
In HalfPrice stores, customers will find clothing, footwear, toys, accessories and cosmetics, as well as decorations and home accessories. Is such a wide offer an idea for a stock?
The offprice model is about uniqueness, a variety of offers that changes every day, this also applies to the brand portfolio. Thanks to the scale of the undertaking, which is the opening of several dozen HalfPrice stores, customers can count on a very diverse offer, it will be supplemented several times a week. Of course, we want to use synergies within our Group, but the products from these stores will not dominate the offer, and accounted for approx. 5-10% of the range.