Connected Light tapped for “total LED upgrade” at 1,200 UK McColl’s Retail Group stores.

The Bristol-based lighting specialist oversaw a massive lighting transformation project at convenience stores situated across the UK.

One of the UK’s leading neighbourhood retailers, McColl’s currently employs more than 22,000 people across an estate of 1,650 managed convenience stores and newsagents. Ensuring that its 5 million weekly customers are kept happy is an ongoing preoccupation and one that means McColl’s undertakes regular reviews of its stores’ layouts and technical infrastructures.

Like many eminent retailers, McColl’s is aware of the energy-saving and improved illumination benefits that can result from the implementation of the latest LED lighting. With this in mind the company recently initiated a comprehensive upgrade project encompassing 1,200 of its stores around the UK.

With Sylvania selected as the preferred lighting supplier for the revamp, Connected Light was enlisted to “work in partnership with Sylvania to provide an economical ‘one in, one out’ solution that would deliver the required light levels to both front-of-house and back-of-house areas using the latest LED fittings,” explains Connected Light director Tony Ludlow.

Ensuring significantly reduced energy consumption was a primary driver of the project, in accordance with McColl’s long-term store sustainability programme. Having previously supplied the company’s Facilities Manager with an efficient solution for another part of its estate, “we already had a clear understanding of the savings that could be delivered. Combined with assurances from Sylvania this led to us being selected as partner for the new project.”

Close collaboration

During the ensuing weeks the Connected Light and Sylvania teams worked in close collaboration to specify the most appropriate LED panels and battens for the extensive McColl’s estate. Connected Light then coordinated the supply of products and ensure that everything was delivered on time.

This period also entailed extensive conversations with participating engineers. “We provided all of them with a ‘tool box’ talk and Q&A session in order to familiarise them with the products,” says Ludlow. “We also established a structured delivery routine across a number of products to ensure the steady supply of items and meet the project’s scheduling requirements.”

After fit-outs at three test stores were deemed to be successful, Connected Light and Sylvania moved ahead with the programme of upgrades throughout the UK, completing all work involved in a timeframe of less than three months – no small feat given the size and scope of the project.

Now that the upgrades have been completed, the impact of the LED lighting can be assessed, with positive results reported across the board. “We are delighted to say that there has been positive feedback from staff and customers alike about the fresher, more appealing feel that the new lighting has given to the stores,” says Ludlow.

Equally critically, the new lighting is also on course to deliver the expected significant energy savings. “Previous to this programme of work, lighting accounted for almost a quarter of the total energy consumed in McColl’s stores, so there was a clear impetus to review the lighting systems. The forecast is for the new lighting to achieve energy savings of 35%, and judging by our initial observations this seems like a very realistic goal. The increased reliability and lifespans of the new fittings also means that McColl’s stands to benefit from reduced maintenance and support costs.”

Emboldened by the success of these upgrades, McColl’s has already forged ahead with a comparable LED revamp initiative at several hundred stores formerly owned by Co-Op. “McColl’s is always seeking to reduce its carbon footprint as well as its energy bills through the ongoing store sustainability programme.