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The organisation has a total capital outlay for the year of around £95 million. Whilst some of this will be used on shop refurbishment, £15 million has been set aside for the new sites. Richard Ames, who is heading up the trial said, "We getting away from transactions going over the counter, and our colleagues in the shops are more like hosts than cashiers."
The change in shop format comes about as a direct response to a changing customer group. Ladbrokes’ Chief Executive Richard Glynn explained that the last five years have seen a 3% growth in betting shop customers aged 18 to 34 and a similar decline in the number of over 55s. And it's the younger customers who are using the slot machines, and who also want opportunities to bet in play.
He set out the future vision using a fine line in hyperbole. "The retail experience has to evolve, to respond to the demands of a tech savvy, empowered audience. It's not a rehash of Costa Ladbrokes, but a sophisticated evolution, adopting far greater use of technology and an enhanced audio-visual environment, all underpinned by differentiating customer service."
One of the tools that is helping to shape the new environment is the information Ladbrokes is able to collect from its customers through its Odds On card which enables people to build up points towards a small free bet when they use it in the betting shop.
Glynn said, "The wonderful thing about having the only over-the-counter and machine retail loyalty card in the industry, Odds On, is that we can track the response from our customers, who are working with us on the new format. Where we find things are working, will continue with the innovation and reinvest on that basis."
The shops in London's Southall and Birmingham's Bullring are the first to be kitted out in the new style, so if you want to sample it, that's where you need to go.