Global French home improvement retailer, LEROY MERLIN, today officially opened a new store in Little Falls, Roodeport in Johannesburg in August. This is the brand’s second store in an active pipeline that will materialize into four stores in South Africa by 2020. The total investment is projected to be R1 billion, with further nationwide expansion on the cards, beyond 2020.
The store is on a 45 000 m2 campus, nestled within easy reach of neighborhoods and businesses in the Roodeport area. The sales floor is 9 000 m2 and offers the widest selection of construction, hardware, tools, kitchen, bathroom, home décor and garden products. With more than 35 000 references and ample stock availability, customers will be spoiled for choice. 30% of the store’s entire range is sourced from the LEROY MERLIN supply chain in France. 70% of stock is locally sourced: 30% from international brands that have South African operations and 40% produced and manufactured locally.
“South Africans love their homes and are constantly doing improvements, from facelift renovations to complete structural changes. We uncovered the extent to which that passion influences their hardware purchase behaviour before setting up our first store in Greenstone in 2017. Ordinary South Africans welcomed us into their homes and through over 600 home visits countrywide, we learnt people’s needs and the existing gap in hardware retail. It was the most insightful research; we listened as people talked us through their aspirations for their homes and their hardware retail experiences,” said Cedric Sennepin, CEO of LEROY MERLIN South Africa.
“Opening this second store in Little Falls is testament that we are indeed meeting the needs of the South African homeowner and that is the core of the hardware retail business. It is also proof of our commitment to the South African economy, and that we see great opportunities to expand and grow the LEROY MERLIN business here. We have two more stores in our pipeline, and we project that by 2020, we will have a total of four stores whose investment amounts to R1 billion,” concluded Sennepin.
The Little Falls store employs 210 people: 160 direct employees and 50 indirectly employed through partnerships such as Mugg and Bean and facilities management service providers such as security and cleaning companies.
Speaking on one of the elements that makes LEROY MERLIN stand out from its competition, Guillaume Beaubreuil, General Manager at LEROY MERLIN Little Falls said, “Employees of LEROY MERLIN form the heart of our culture. The team on the floor and behind the scenes drive a culture centred on service. They all know the various ranges in store and can make informed recommendations. The team, for instance, can do price checks and are empowered to adjust the selling prices of certain products to beat any other price in the market, on the spot.”
LM offers easy-return policy, lay-by, click & collect, delivery, cutting & edging, key-cutting, repair centre, tool rental and installation services. Further, customers can get the LEROY MERLIN Home Card with offers of 30-day promotional price guarantees, 6-month returns, faster access to services and workshop preferences.
The store features a Drive-Thru Building Yard for customers who are looking for a quick in-and-out experience when purchasing construction material. This section spans 4 700 m2 and from it, customers can pull up with their vehicles, select and load products they need, and pay up at the counter as they exit. This saves time without compromising on service levels.
The brand’s unique offering in service strikes the same chord of excellence in physical in-store experience, the digital experience and in-between: the ‘phygital.’ LEROY MERLIN Little Falls has large showrooms that will inspire people in their quests to turn their homes into delightful spaces they can enjoy with their loved ones. Instructional illustrations throughout the store help people better understand what products to choose and how to install them. The digital experience is centered on making customers’ lives easier. The online store reflects all the products in the store – as shelves are stocked, the online store is updated with quantities. When buying online, customers can opt for click-and-collect within two hours or express delivery to any part of the country. This gives people outside of Johannesburg access to a great range of products at the cheapest prices in hardware retail.
LEROY MERLIN in South Africa has formed great partnerships: with a digital platform that recommends qualified contractors known as KANDUA; with Coastal Hire for tool hiring requirements; with JTSI for key-cutting service; with Xpress Repairs for tool fixing; and with Mugg and Bean for light snacks and refreshments in-store while customers shop.
Building a community around stores is a part of LEROY MERLIN’s DNA, and the Little Falls store will be no exception. Communities of DIYers meet for DIY Workshops at the store where they create and share their passion with one another. These workshops have already been so successful in South Africa that the community has organically mobilised at the LEROY MERLIN Greenstone to ensure that there are workshops every day. The Little Falls workshop area is 125 m2 and is on the shop floor, close to the entrance.