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    Unilever Teams with Tesco

    The two companies are working to improve Tesco's convenience stores.

    LONDON -- Britain’s biggest consumer goods company, Unilever, teamed up with the nation’s biggest retailer, Tesco, to see if the pair can get shoppers to spend more money in convenience stores by reorganizing aisles, according to a report in the Financial Times.

    Unilever, which has researched how to go about putting together a perfect convenience store for the past couple of years, is joining with the retailer to improve its convenience offer, and have re-organized the food-to-go area across 1,500 Tesco Express stores already.

    Julie Watson, Unilever’s customer marketing director in the UK and Ireland, said the company began working on stores designs using computer simulation models, which people "virtually" shopped, according to the report.

    It then gradually pieced together the optimal store by moving aisles around and changing where different groceries, toiletries and ready-made meals were placed, and Unilever first tested the new layout in a co-op store in England at the end of 2007, the report stated.

    Sales increased 9 percent in the first five to eight weeks of the redesign, and 9 percent in the following four weeks. Additionally, across nine redeveloped stores, sales increased 8 percent in the first three months and 5 percent across a 20-week period, the Financial Times reported.

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