Danish grocery chain Irma gave customers more say in how their local shops were set up, and the immediate response was higher turnover.

Irma management decided to test the conclusion that if customer bases are different, their stores should be too, newspaper Jyllands-Posten reports.

Responding to poll information, an Irma outlet in Valby started opening earlier and changed their store look and assortment to reflect customer wishes and demographics, increasing business by 15%.

Common findings in the two test stores were a desire for earlier opening, more organic food and a better selection of fresh fruit, vegetables and meat.

District manager Erik Pedersen said the changes came within the chain’s total available product range: “We can’t sell lawn mowers and bicycles.” Turnover per customer increased and buying patterns changed, with specialty, luxury and fresh goods with higher profit margins selling better.

Irma plans to test the plan in eight to ten outlets in residential areas in 2004.