NightOwl marks its 40th anniversary

NightOwl_40_4CEO Craig Urquhart shares his thoughts on NightOwl’s milestone, strong performance and success and forecast for the industry with Convenience World.

How the retail brand has grown and evolved

NightOwl began as one store in 1975 in Auchenflower, Brisbane and now boasts 66
stores in convenient locations across Queensland and NSW. Quality is always ensured at NightOwl with stores stocked with good-quality products and groceries to deliver utmost convenience.

The NightOwl convenience store is traditionally sized from 100sqm to 150sqm. This retail footprint is split into four formats according to an area’s demographics:

  • High street convenience – in high-density areas such as city centres.
  • Suburban convenience – typically the anchor tenant in a shop complex.
  • Coastal convenience – in areas categorised as lifestyle and holiday destinations.
  • Regional convenience – carrying a broader range of grocery lines to cater for demand.

Store of the Future

NightOwl has now refurbished and upgraded 33 stores to the revolutionary Store of the Future layout.

The new-age Store of the Future NightOwl stores feature an innovative new layout and product/service offering that encompasses the modern shopper’s needs and lends itself to a high-tech lifestyle.

The high-tech LED screens provide customers with information on promotions and offers from a distance, while the in-store TVs streamline the shopping experience, displaying a range of in-store promotions, combo deals and popular products.

Gone are the days of awkwardly perusing tiny labels in search of a bargain, as we’ve made it easier than ever to shop through our integrated digital approach and unprecedented range and services.

The digital presence within the store has received significant praise from customers, with many of them making NightOwl their regular convenience option over less technologically advanced competitors.

In this day and age, customers want their shopping tied in with their digital lifestyle and NightOwl aims to offer this.

Selected NightOwl stores feature the following leading-edge Store of the Future offerings:

  • A barista-quality in-store café experience at exceptional prices backed by a 100-per-cent taste guarantee.
  • A comprehensive health and beauty section.
  • An on-the-go foodservice offering with healthy, ready-to-eat options plus traditional favourites.
  • A comprehensive grocery and local fresh produce offering.
  • A stylish new Fun Wall for frozen beverages and ice-creams.
  • Newspapers, magazines and a high-tech mobile-phone accessory unit.

Trends in convenience and in-store

It’s a fierce and rapidly changing environment and it’s important to stay ahead of the trends in retail.

NightOwl is making great use of very small spaces and this allows the best possible range to fit into a small store, maximising profits.

The stores will feature easy-to-navigate, in-store digital technology and fresh gourmet food, along with more traditional offerings. In today’s fast-moving, hyper-connected society, convenience stores can no longer rely on sheer convenience alone to prosper.

NightOwl’s Store of the Future offerings are all about being in sync with new technology, new consumer trends and current market forces, as well as connection with our customers.

NightOwl’s sister company, Coyote Software, began operations in 2011 and provides stores with the facilities to better serve their customers and grow profitability through the use of reliable and affordable registers and point-of-sale software.

Unlike most modern point-of-sale options, Coyote can be operated without an internet connection, working offline until a connection is re-established. Coyote Software has formed strategic industry alliances with Fametech in Taiwan, Trax Retail for our retail fuel outlets, and Insight Cash for ATMs.

Strong performance in 2015

In 2015, NightOwl refurbished 24 stores, opened six new stores and expanded the network of revolutionary LED signs and Owl Cafés.

It was a year of strong performance in the areas of foodservice, fresh fruit and vegetables, health and beauty and, of course, coffee.

NightOwl has remained at the forefront of offering an unparalleled range through our national core range. This allows us to provide franchisees with a degree of ranging autonomy while maintaining exceptional margins and maximising profits.

Forecast for 2016

The trend internationally is for a smaller footprint with a greater offer. Consumers are topping up their weekly shop more than twice a week on average in Australia, driving the need for a quality range. This will continue and store size will continue to drop.

What does this mean? It means range and offering have to be refined based on available space, demographics and overall target market.

NightOwl prides itself on exceptional ranging. Couple this with our Store of the Future model and 2016 will yield strong results.

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