VapeStore Waterlooville

VapeStore Waterlooville covers 350 sq ft

Surrey vaping supplier Vapouriz is claiming a UK first for its new store-within-a-store concept in the convenience channel.

The company has opened its first outlet in the Londis at Waterlooville service station, Hampshire, taking over 350 sq ft under the Vapouriz retail arm VapeStore.

“We’ve basically put in there what we’d have in our actual high street stores,” said Vapouriz head of retail Ron Booker. The space, which includes a tasting area, “looks amazing” he added.

The move followed “quite rapid expansion last year” of the Vape Store business, which launched in 2014 and now comprises 16 branches.

In the spotlight: vaping category report 2019

“Due to the success of that, we saw an opportunity within the convenience market,” Booker added. About 10 weeks ago, Vapouriz entered discussions with Rusdene Services, an independent forecourt and convenience store operator with five sites in Hampshire and Wiltshire, including Waterlooville.

With a deadline for early February, Vapouriz had to operate “at pace”. The final result was unique, Booker insisted. “I don’t think anyone else is doing a store within a store in the vaping category. Others do displays in forecourts and the like, but no one is doing the full store-within-store.”

Vapouriz has also opened a “partial store within a store” in the Budgens at Rusdene’s Meon Hut Service Station near Petersfield. With VapeStore “fairly well represented” on the high streets of southern England, Vapouriz would look to open more stores within stores, Booker said. “We’ve had the guys from the Co-op down to have a look.”

It comes as the vaping category is soaring in grocery – up 12% in value sales to £184m due in part to the growing popularity of easy-to-use ‘pod mod’ devices [Nielsen 52 w/e 8 September 2018].