COMMENT: Thresher opens Blockbuster competition
Thresher's efforts to rebuild a thriving retail business are expected to continue with a diversification into selling frozen pizzas, ice creams and film rentals alongside its alcoholic drinks. Earlier in the year the company bought up the meal-kits company Leapingsalmon, complementing its new focus on convenience for those staying in.
Thresher is expected to run a trial store later this year. The move highlights a growing trend among convenience store operators to focus on specific occasions. For example, Marks & Spencer's successful Simply Food stores focus on lunchtime and dinner meal solutions. Now Threshers is looking to compete with the likes of Blockbusters to target consumers' evening entertainment needs when staying at home.
Although people are going out more frequently to eat and drink, Thresher's focus on nights in could be a shrewd move. Consumers are increasingly snacking more in the evenings when they do stay at home. In 2002, European consumers snacked at home in the evening an average of 5.4 times per week; this is set to rise to 5.6 times per week by 2007.
In addition, when consumers do choose to stay in rather than go out, a number of factors will likely lead many of them to make an 'occasion' of staying in. The search for personal space will increase as the outside world becomes a busier place and consumers increasingly recognize the home as a haven to indulge themselves or de-stress from the pressures of hectic lifestyles. Meanwhile, increasingly powerful in-home technologies are facilitating consumers' ability to maximize the quality of their nights in.
These factors are enabling manufacturers to target nights in with premium and indulgent offerings. For example, Walkers is seeing storming success with this strategy with its premium Sensations potato chips brand. Sensations have already achieved annual sales of GBP60-65 million, having only been launched in March 2002.
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