Setting up a concession in the UK’s biggest Grocer

Supporting the roll-out of a concession in the UK’s largest grocery retailer is a challenging task. It requires collaboration, precise planning, and excellent communication. There are numerous obstacles to overcome in order to achieve success, and it all starts with proper timing, effective communication, and consistency.

eXPD8 has been assisting brands in the retail industry for over two decades. Our extensive experience and deep-rooted knowledge of the sector allows us to navigate through the challenges involved. With a well-trained and fully employed team of merchandisers and field managers located throughout the country, we are able to provide unparalleled coverage and establish strong relationships with local stores, where it matters most.

We have been working with The Entertainer for 18 months now. Initially, we supported their trial stores in Tesco, and now we are involved in the nationwide roll-out of The Entertainer Toy Shop across 870 Tesco stores in the UK and Northern Ireland. Expanding from a few trial stores to such a high volume of stores nationwide requires a completely different approach to planning, process, and communication.

Week 4: 104 store set ups complete – 475 to go!

Project Management

At eXPD8, our project team comprises individuals from various departments within the company, including Operations, Client Services, Resourcing, L&D, Marketing, Data and IT, and HR. Working according to a detailed project plan, the team convenes daily to ensure effective communication, prompt problem-solving, and forward-thinking to anticipate future requirements. By continuously learning from our experiences, we constantly strive for improvement. The project plan encompasses all aspects, ranging from resource allocation, training, scheduling calls to merchandisers, testing the brief, developing the question set, setting up and managing technology, identifying stock, and much more. Regular meetings with The Entertainer facilitate a mutually beneficial flow of communication to ensure smooth set-ups.

eXPD8 in Tesco for The Entertainer
eXPD8 set-up of The Entertainer in Tesco


With a team of over 2,400 field colleagues, we have a robust foundation in place to ensure that every store receives the necessary support for successful set-up within the provided timescales. Timing is of utmost importance, which is why we always have backup plans ready to ensure that we can provide resources as expected, in line with stock availability, POS positioning, and Tesco’s expectations of our presence in their stores. By employing a well-structured plan, we are able to anticipate requirements in a timely manner and recruit the additional merchandisers necessary. Our planning has identified a requirement for us to recruit a further 650 merchandisers to support the ongoing work within The Entertainer concessions which eXPD8 will be managing daily post launch.

Of course, at eXPD8 we are used to planning and managing the delivery of large-scale retail support solutions and therefore we have invested significant time and effort in developing smart tools that enable us identify, plan, recruit and resolve resource requirements at a granular level.

We take the same approach to resourcing that many accomplished retailers take to store inventory management. We start with the core locational data, we overlay proximity data to other locations, specific travel attributes and distance variables, then we geocode all employees and store locations to determine optimal route options. This enables us to pinpoint the most efficient locations to employ people, based on ability to attend site as well as best commercial outcome, minimising travel costs etc. We then overlay the required hours and shift patterns (days of the week etc.). We match the requirements to our existing available resources and where an obvious need is identified we then commence recruitment via our online recruitment platform, supported by an internal electronic rewards scheme, which rewards existing employees every time they promote new roles on social media. This overall approach to resourcing enables us to pre-empt requirements some 12-16 weeks out, providing a significant window to recruit, induct and train new merchandisers for up-and-coming work.

eXPD8 colleagues


One of our core values is to enable our colleagues to perform their jobs to the best of their ability. In addition to providing them with company tablets, we prioritise thorough training. Our e-learning platform, eDUK8, enables us to create engaging modules that ensure our colleagues have a comprehensive understanding of our clients’ brands and are familiar with every aspect of their responsibilities while in-store. This online training is supplemented with face-to-face training sessions within the stores themselves. This comprehensive training approach ensures that our colleagues are confident and capable of completing all required tasks, delivering service excellence consistently.


Our merchandisers receive detailed briefs and planograms, which they can access on their tablets, providing them with all the necessary information at their fingertips. Once they arrive at the store, they report to our Field Managers, allowing us to track their presence and ensure they have everything they need. When their set-up is complete, they fill out a question set and take photos, which are sent back to Central Office for analysis and compilation. This real-time reporting enables us to provide The Entertainer with immediate updates on the progress of set-ups and flag any issues that may arise. To ensure successful set-ups every time, we meticulously plan for every possible scenario and have contingencies in place.

eXPD8 colleagues setting up The Entertainer in Tesco

Ongoing Merchandising

The completion of the Toy Shop concession set-up does not signify the end of our involvement. Our eXPD8 merchandisers continue to visit the stores several times a week to replenish stock, adhere to planograms, attach necessary security tags to products, and make sure that price changes are implemented at the correct time in every store. Our team takes pride in delivering exceptional work while enjoying the opportunity to work with toys every day!

eXPD8’s aim is to support The Entertainer in its ambition to become the biggest Toy Retailer in the UK.

If your brand or promotion needs support on the shop floor to ensure availability, visibility, and sales of your products, feel free to get in touch with us at