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Soriana: Market, Merchandising & Store Design Study, Monterrey, Mexico.

Soriana, Mexico's leading supermarket & hypermarket chain, is under increasing attack from the recent invasion of "new-wave" competitors such as Wal*Mart, Carrefour and HEB. As a result, in mid-1999, Talbot Consultants International Inc. of Toronto was retained by Soriana to assist them in re-positioning and re-branding their flagship hypermarket store in the San Pedro Plaza, Monterrey, Mexico. Our task was to analyse the existing store and its trade area and then advise Soriana as to how best to re-position, re-brand, re-merchandise and re-design the store so that the revitalised store would not only put them back into competition but would provide them with a competitive advantage and return them to their historic role as the dominant Mexican chain. This was clearly a task for our leading-edge Geographic Information System (GIS) techniques but unfortunately no GIS based demographic or mapping data was readily available for Monterrey. As a result we retained a Mexican consumer research firm to conduct intercept & telephone surveys and geocode the results to provide a demographic database. We also contacted various local GIS mapping companies and, with their assistance, developed our own GIS mapping database. Finally we had Soriana download their daily sales coded by customer and SKU. We then cross-referenced each POS sales record with the intercept survey to geocode the results. Based on these techniques we were able to provide Soriana with their first GIS based analysis of their store. As a result, were also able to provide Soriana with the specific reasons for their poor performance and provide a specific "Action Plan" for regaining their market share utilising store specific re-positioning, re-merchandising and marketing strategies. We were also able to provide their retail designers (The International Design Group of Toronto) with the associated recommendations that they required for revitalising the store's merchandising and design. Two other factors that made this project particularly challenging were that Soriana requested that all the analyses, recommendations and workshops be conducted entirely in Spanish and that they be completed within 6 weeks! These were both achieved on time and on budget. Our store re-branding & re-design recommendations were implemented and the San Pedro store is now the #1 performing store in the chain. As a result our recommendations are also being implemented as a "blueprint" for other Soriana flagship stores elsewhere.



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