Will UGO back? Checking out Britain’s newest supermarket chain

Graham Soult

Retail consultant, writer, blogger; helping retailers via CannyInsights.com and CannySites.com. Say hello on Twitter at @soult!

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22 Responses

  1. Reminds me of Netto and maybe Lidl?

  2. At a time when the retail industry is crying out for innovation, yet another retail company fails. This will undoubtably create more devastation among suppliers, usually those that can least afford the hit from a pre-pack arrangement. They do say that cream rises to the top, time will tell us where the cream was within this short story with an unhappy ending.

  3. mick says:

    not surprised its closed today popular products discontinued prices rocketing empty shelves no idea how to run supermarkets
    now left to the mercy of one supermarket in stanley good move by asda but not for cash strapped consumers.have ugo gone bust or been sold? lets hope any future owner has a clue how to run them.

  4. Sean says:

    Well they didn’t last long, Haldanes all over again.

    UGO SOLD !!!

  5. Phillip T says:

    On the UGO Hartlepool launch day, it really was almost identical to Netto. You should go there now. It’s a travesty.

  6. Mrs E Gray says:

    Since the Netto store in Hartlepool changed to UGO, I have been disappointed to see that their prices are much higher than Netto’s were. Also, the selection of goods is far smaller than Netto’s.
    However, I was tempted into the store by the 2 for £15 offer on boxes of beer, lager and cider. These are displayed on the end of an isle with the prices above giving the price for a single unit and the price if you buy the two. unfortunately, they also placed boxes of carling lager on the same display with the single unit price above. I assumed that this was included in the 2 for £15 deal only to find that I paid £18.48 for one box of Carling and one of Strongbow! I returned to the store and spoke to the Manager who very abruptly informed me that he thought it was obvious that the Carling was not in the offer! amittedly, it did give a list of what was included on the (small)notice, but if it was not meant to mislead – why on earth was it on the same display as the ones on offer? I pointed out to the rude manager that the almost empty shop and car park would be even emptier now, as I won’t be shopping there again. and I will warn my friends and family too.

  7. Claire says:

    I thought one of the ideas of loss leaders was that they were difficult to find in store, so you had to see lots of other items on your travels. And that they brought people in, so promoting them to people who were already instore wouldn’t make sense would it? In fact that would be a waste of product/money.

    • Graham Soult says:

      Fair point, but if I was being specially attracted into the store with an eyecatching deal, I would expect that deal to be clearly signposted and correctly labelled. Otherwise I might not bother to make the effort again! Equally, if you’re trying to position your brand as a value retailer, it seems a little perverse to hide away the deals that will help shoppers perceive it that way.

  8. Retrogadget says:

    I made my first visits to UGO stores while on holiday in the Cleveland area last week. First stop was the store in Eston, which as you stated stood out due to its bright signage, I see what you mean about the entrance – still not clear about in/out but they had now got UGO branded carriers. The store was lacking natural light inside so seemed a bit dull and did have a cluttered feel but not as bad as some of the former Netto stores I’ve been to (Nuneaton in particular,which I’ve still not visited since its transformation to a UGO). It was late Monday morning and the store was doing a steady trade. One of the reasons I went in was to buy some sugar and I saw a pallet full of Tate&Lyle sugar with a printed sign above it proclaiming ’69p(crossed out)each, 10p off now 79p each or 2 for £1.50′!! I took a closer look to make sure I hadn’t mistaken the 6 for a 8 which I hadn’t. At that point a member of staff was heading towards me and I casually pointed it out to her saying ‘that doesn’t make sense’ to which see looked and replied with a laugh; “Huh, you’ll find a lot of things in here don’t make sense, pet” before disappearing into the stock room. I still bought the sugar though and left with a smile on my face.
    Later in the week I called into the Stanley branch which had a much brighter and tidier feel to it, it was also quite busy and had promotional leaflets at the tills, which Eston didn’t, but that could be down to the time of the week.
    In conclusion, I left both stores feeling UGO is basically Netto under a different name, with good offers to get customers in the stores. I realise keeping the same colour schemes kept store transformation costs down, which in my mind is not a bad thing as I like the yellow and black signage.

  9. Ant says:

    Yes the Biddulph store closed today the staff were all heart broken , told the Thursday , and they would have to work for no pay, and if the didn’t go into work they wouldn’t get the government redundancy. Thanks for being great staff at the Biddulph store u will be missed hope u all get sorted

  10. LUK says:

    The Ashington Netto store has been rebranded as a UGO store. I went in it this week and apart from the name above the door, you’d just think it was a Netto. They have done nothing to better the store or the product range.

    The new Morrisons that is taking over the Bedlington Netto store will be a more welcome addition to the shopping scene.

  11. Although the customer service aspect will be a cause for concern as that’s a basic regardless of fascia!

  12. Great read Graham, really good read. I had a visit to Bradford UGO and will blog later this week about the internals and indeed the supply chain side of the operation from my viewpoint.

    Being a shopper of many of the stores, the price immediately made me think that this is where the change may need to come quickly as people on the Holme Wood estate in Bradford will not pay 56p for a can of Coca Cola for example, I noted Richard Collins making comments in the Grocer regarding ranging and their review once they are trading which I appreciate, but the range seemed a little lopsided initially with 24ft of Pop which seems remarkably OTT.

    The supply side agreement with Nisa will limit their pricing muscle and a reliance on ‘specials’ could well see a Safeway style ‘hi-lo’ problem whereby shoppers cherry pick the loss leaders and offers then promptly go elsewhere for their core shop which deprives UGO of driving any profit through higher margin products.

    Difficult to be too critical of any gaps initially as it will inevitably take time to bed down and integrate everything but I’d be hoping that they are keeping a good track on stock levels instore and tailoring ordering appropriately.

    • Graham Soult says:

      Some excellent points there, Steve! Many thanks. You’re absolutely right that there will be an element of bedding down; after all, the stores have only been open a couple of weeks. I just worry that if people don’t have a great first experience they may not bother to go back when the shelves *are* properly stocked.

  13. Retrogadget says:

    The Nuneaton Netto store closed at noon yesterday (Sat 7th May) and is due to reopen Monday morning as UGO. It’ll be interesting to see what improvements are made. I was never impressed by the Nuneaton store and found it depressing and cluttered/untidy inside compared to the Tamworth store which was bright and inviting. I’ll try and get over in the next couple of weeks and report back on my findings.

  1. June 9, 2011

    […] at Haldanes, there’s still work to do in addressing similar issues at UGO. A month ago, following my visits to the UGO stores in Eston and Ashington, I queried UGO’s apparent move away from the everyday low prices (EDLP) strategy that had […]

  2. June 10, 2011

    […] Biddulph, near Stoke-on-Trent, and Broxburn, in Edinburgh – were recently converted to the UGO fascia, but, confusingly, DO still appear to be closing next week along with the bulk of the […]

  3. June 15, 2011

    […] where Haldanes’ UGO stores are very much an adaptation of the existing Netto fitout, Asda’s revamps are more extensive, involving stripping the stores back to their […]

  4. June 28, 2011

    […] his Haldanes chain. For me, however, a key reason for meeting Harris was to talk about his fledgling UGO business, and – hopefully – to provide some reassurance to the staff who work at those 20 […]

  5. July 1, 2011

    […] a visit to an ex-Netto UGO in the bag, and one to an ex-Netto Asda in the offing, it seemed only fair to check out an ex-Netto […]

  6. August 17, 2011

    […] on from my ‘undercover’ visits to ex-Netto UGO stores on Teesside and an ex-Netto Morrisons in Tamworth – all among the 47 stores that Asda had to divest for […]

  7. November 1, 2011

    […] birth hasn’t been straightforward, however. When I visited the Eston and Hartlepool shops, on Teesside, in May, I praised the stores’ external appearance and great offers, but highlighted some concerns […]

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