As Nature Intended opens ‘optimum wellbeing’ concept store

Organic supermarket As Nature Intended opened its new ‘optimum wellbeing’ concept store earlier this week at the new Westfield Stratford City shopping centre in east London.

As Nature Intended says it wanted to create a new concept store offering products “specially selected to improve overall wellbeing”. This range encompasses natural skincare, supplements, superfoods, nuts, seeds, fruits and cereals.

The retailer says the new store will be staffed by a skilled and knowledgeable team able to give the shoppers of Westfield Stratford — at 1,900,000 sq ft the biggest shopping centre in Europe —  informed advice on how to achieve their optimal wellbeing.

The new store will focus on three categories: Food (including herbal teas, loose and pre-packed nuts and seeds raw foods and superfoods; Supplements (vitamin and minerals, herbal remedies, probiotics, essential fats, digestive aids, sports supplements and homeopathy) and Skincare (leading natural skincare ranges as well as natural & mineral cosmetics and personal hygiene essentials).

Commenting on the new store’s positioning, managing director Jeff Martin said: “Personally I’d call it a health food store. It’s just taking health food retailing to the next level. Making it more approachable for customers and really wowing people with the great brands we have here. That gives us a great opportunity to educate a whole different bunch of consumers about why it’s so great using natural products as opposed to synthetics.

Asked about the store’s product focus, Martin added: “The category selection has got a lot to do with what’s happening in the market. In the recession period we’ve continued to do well and our biggest growth areas have been supplements, skincare and specialist super foods. Here at Westfield it’s about tapping into the professional market. It’s about getting the message out there and explaining to people that they aren’t downgrading by going natural, or that there doesn’t have to be a compromise on quality – which is still the perception for many people. We’re also educating people to understand that it’s not all about external beauty, it’s about internal health too.”

• As Nature Intended was founded in 2000 by Iceland founder and chief executive Malcolm Walker. The business was taken over Caroline Gooding (Walker’s daughter) in 2002. The retailer currently has three stores in Chiswick, Ealing and Balham in London. In 2010 Jeff Martin joined the company from Whole Foods Market as managing director. See our ‘first look’ store profile in the October issue of Natural Products.