At Extra Hiper Gamelinha, as a retailer unit in the east of São Paulo is known, a banner at the entrance warns customers: “This store is still open”. A more timid warning, however, completes the information: “Coming soon, a new Extra Market for you”.
The unit is among the hypermarkets that will be converted into a new format by Grupo Pão de Açúcar, as part of the restructuring that will end the model of large stores within the group.
The retail giant decided to sell 70 points to Assaí, a wholesale division transformed into an independent company last year.
There were 33 stores left under the banner in a kind of “limbo”. According to the company, these units will be transformed into Pão de Açúcar supermarkets, in Extra Markets or closed.
Once the stock-outs started in November are over, the old hypermarkets are filling the area previously occupied by appliances, electronics and bazaar as best they can. As the spaces are half empty, the management resorts to notices such as the one from Extra Gamelinha.
There, while on the walls there are signs about appliances and electronics, what you can see is a huge wall of drinks.
The solution is temporary, but reveals the biggest challenge of this type of conversion: the size of the units. “The stores are in the middle of the road. They are not big enough to become a cash and carry store and are often too big for a supermarket,” says Eduardo Yamashita, director of operations at retail consultancy Gouvêa.
“Apparently they are doing a temporary adaptation before the actual conversion.”
The Extra banner is a hallmark of hypermarkets. The format was conceived at a time when the product mix was broad, with many categories, and families were in the habit of making the so-called “shopping of the month”.
“The footage of the sales halls was compatible. Today, due to the shrinkage of categories, the spaces have become bigger”, says Eugênio Foganholo, partner at the retail consultancy Mixxer. “One of the solutions is to sublet the store for other retailers to operate, as long as they do not work with categories similar to Extra.”
If convertible stores report in banners that are still open, others already show less cheerful banners. “This Extra Hiper store closed. Thank you for being part of our history”, says a banner at the entrance of the Marginal Tietê establishment.
Close by, an Assaí store has hung banners on the parking grid – previously shared by the two brands – to inform that it is still working.
Asked about what should happen to the employees of the points sold to Assaí, GPA replied that there is an internal reuse direction in the other business units involved in the transaction.
“(This) includes prioritizing the hiring of Extra Hiper employees in the new units of Assaí”, he says. The group is also conducting a mapping of the employees of these units to understand individual interest and direct efforts towards a “humanized” transition.
Regarding the destination of the Marginal store, Assaí states that the negotiations with GPA still have steps to be completed and that the transaction will be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2022.
The list of stores involved will be released to the market after this step. The information is from the newspaper. The State of São Paulo.
Reference: CNN Brasil