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Qualipet focuses on the shopping experience

Leading Swiss pet supplies chain Qualipet upgraded nine of its 75 stores last year and substantially increased the retail area of these stores where possible. This move has resulted in considerable sales growth in the stores in question.
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Qualipet AG finished last year with a double-digit increase in sales. With a market share of over 30 per cent, the company is the undisputed number 1 among Swiss pet product retailers. Two years ago it received a powerful boost with the acquisition of rival company My Friends, which operated 13 stores. These outlets were quickly brought into line with the Qualipet format, and the chain now runs 75 stores in Switzerland. It believes the potential is there, however, for at least 10 to 15 further stores. Investing heavily in quality Last year, the dynamic family firm of proprietor Rolf Boffa opened two new branches in Etoy and Schönbühl (in Switzerland's fourth biggest shopping centre, Shoppyland) and merged its two stores in Volketswil to create a big store. But the main focus in 2009 was on upgrading nine of its existing stores and extending these where possible. The company concentrated on integrating themed areas into the stores to make them more attractive to the customers. The two Qualipet outlets in St. Gallen-Abtwil and Chur merit special attention, and investment in these has paid off at a stroke: in 2009, sales in Abtwil increased by over 50 per cent compared with the previous year, while the Chur store reported similar success. Both stores were refitted in collaboration with shopfitting specialists Müller & Pfleger. "Welcome on board" in St. Gallen In St. Gallen-Abtwil, Qualipet opened an 850 m2 store eight years ago. For the last three years a branch of Fressnapf has been operating directly opposite, although this has not harmed Qualipet's success. Last autumn, Qualipet moved its store into the neighbouring premises, which offer a retail area of 1 200 m2 on two floors. The speciality chain used the additional floor space to extend its range of goods, which now comprises over 12 000 products. In its reorganisation of the store, the company attached special importance to making the presentation of pets and merchandise even more attractive. All the products for dogs, cats and horses can be found on the ground floor. On entering the store, customers pass shelving containing apparel for dogs and gift articles. A new form of presentation at Qualipet features between the rows of shelves containing an extensive selection of food, care and accessory products - here pedestals with illuminated posters display selected accessory ranges in an elegant and appealing manner. All the pets are to be found in the basement, where the product groups for aquariums…
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