SINGAPORE - Supermarket chain Cold Storage opened its new flagship outlet, CS Fresh Gold, at Paragon on Wednesday (Aug 25).
The space was previously occupied by another brand under the Cold Storage umbrella, Market Place, which also had outlets at Tanglin Mall and Raffles City Shopping Centre.
This move is part of a $40 million rebranding exercise that will see a revamp of all 48 Cold Storage stores by the end of 2022, said DFI Retail Group (DFI), which owns the chain.
The Straits Times understands that all Market Place outlets will be rebranded as CS Fresh, which provides an upscale shopping experience.
Meanwhile, Cold Storage outlets will continue to operate mostly in the heartland.
As part of Cold Storage's revamp, its arsenal includes exclusive tie-ups with Ryan's Grocery and Crystal Jade to offer premium meats and ready-to-eat meals.
The move follows a study by DFI which gathered customer insights into their preferences and expectations of a fresh-food store.
Mr Chris Bush, chief executive of Cold Storage, said: "This is the largest investment plan we have ever committed to. Cold Storage has been serving our customers with great quality and fresh food for over 100 years, and this is what we firmly believe in."
The flagship store, spanning 1,848 sq m, will have what is said to be Singapore's largest organic produce range.
It will also stock plant-based products from brands such as Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat.
Shoppers can also buy health and wellness products.
As part of the revamp, Cold Storage stores will have a new look.
For instance, wooden fixtures in the Paragon outlet were recycled from old pallets to make its ambience more rustic.
Associate Professor Lawrence Loh from the National University of Singapore Business School said Cold Storage's revamp is a timely and pre-emptive move as Singapore prepares to further reopen its economy.
He added: "Even in a pandemic, some people will still be able to afford premium groceries. Singapore also has a clear road map to coexist with Covid-19, so business sentiment will pick up."
Prof Loh noted that bricks-and-mortar businesses have suffered. Robinsons, for example, shut its flagship store at The Heeren last year.
But Prof Loh feels that supermarkets are more resilient as people still prefer to touch and see fresh food before buying.
Mr Lucas Tok, digital marketing and branding lecturer at Singapore Polytechnic, said Cold Storage's decision to designate its Paragon store as the flagship could signal it is consolidating its position in the premium groceries market.
He said: "Paragon is a mall known for its up-market brands and affluent clientele."
Shopper Ann Bay, 53, said the Paragon outlet will likely be well received by those who live in the Orchard Road area.
However, the housewife, who lives in Bukit Merah, said: "Cold Storage can be found in most neighbourhoods these days, so not everyone will travel far for groceries. There is also a Cold Storage at Ngee Ann City and a FairPrice Finest opposite 313 @ somerset, which shoppers can visit instead."
Other supermarkets here have also geared up to offer shoppers more choices.
Gourmet supermarket Little Farms, which has five retail stores, said it will continue to offer its natural and organic meats, seafood and dairy products.
Mr Joe Stevens, its chief executive, said: "We are constantly refreshing our range to bring our customers the very best available in Singapore, Australia, Europe and elsewhere in the world."
DFI was previously known as Dairy Farm Group.
The company's underlying net profit, which excludes non-trading items, fell 69.5 per cent to US$32.1 million (S$43.5 million) for the six months to June 30.
This was down from from US$105.1 million the year before, amid changing shopping patterns due to the Covid-19 pandemic.