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Design showcase: Sustainable living push by Biomonde stores

French co-operative retail group Biomonde, which is formed of an alliance of independent retailers, has introduced a new store concept designed to reflect the changing priorities of consumers.

The group perceived a shift by French consumers, who are keen to adopt more sustainable lifestyles, to eat more healthily, and to reduce waste. The co-operative, which has more than 200 stores, launched the format at a store in Cachan, close to Paris.

Biomonde appointed the design department of HMY Group to develop a store that would meet its new objectives, with the aim of increasing customer loyalty. Seasonal products, bulk buying, and reduced packaging have been adopted as strategies to help shoppers live more sustainably. HMY Group is an international company providing design, engineering, manufacturing and installation of retail fixtures and fittings.

Dedicated fruit and vegetable displays have been designed to fit the Biomonde stores, using a tubular structure to support wooden product bins and slates for handwritten pricing signage. The flexible displays can easily be used for different seasonal products through the year. All furniture was manufactured locally in HMY's French factories and installed by local teams.

“We constantly promote sustainable development and strive to have a positive impact on our surroundings, including the environment and our communities. It’s great to be able to work together with our clients on projects like this, and appeal to an ever-growing market of ‘green’ consumers,” says HMY Group UK managing director Stuart Geekie.

Jean-Albert Bureau, owner of the store in Cachan says: “It was important that the store concept matched our brand values, placing strong emphasis on organic agriculture and sustainable development.

“Initially, the project was more about a zero waste store. While this is still a long term goal, the reality of organic stores and the need to have a complete, extensive offer, has meant that we have had to 'adapt our dreams' to the needs of our customers and the market.

“When we partnered with HMY Group, what we liked was that our project was immediately taken by the horns. I felt like I had people who were going to open the store with me, and were ready for the challenge. They came to us with a real concept, with a real idea.”

Biomonde has not yet made a decision on whether to roll out the new store format to further branches.