Sunday , October 24 2021

Unia fight against 24-hour stores


The future? A 24 hour shop. image: unsplash

Soon, 24-hour shopping arrives – but not all are enthusiasts

New study: It is after Migros, Valora and Co. The 24-hour business is the future – but there are obstacles.

Benjamin Weinmann / ch media

The American singer Bill Haley called in 1954 in his song: Rock in the clock! If Swiss retailers had to sing a song today, they would probably sing "Buy 24 hours a day!" Because the uninterrupted purchases are considered by the operators of the gas station and service station as the biggest growth engine in the coming years. This is the conclusion of a study by consulting firm Fuhrer & Hotz.

The results, which will be presented to a specialized audience next week, are already available for this newspaper. About 100 high-level market representatives were asked which business formats would increase their sales more in the next two years.

The majority of the votes were received by the 24-hour stores. This is followed by station stores, take-away agencies and gas station stores – in other words, those formats that have already surpassed in recent years. According to market researcher GFK, convenience stores have converted CHF 9 billion into 2018.

Getting Started in Zurich

From a legal point of view, uninterrupted working hours mean that most companies would have to run out of employees at night. In fact, the first attempts were made in the style of Amazon Go stores in the USA. Kiosk operator Valora placed an "Avec Box" at the main station in Zurich for several weeks in April, which was always open – at least for customers with an Avec application.

The "Avec Box" in the main station of Zurich. Image: KEYSTONE

With this, they gained access to the unmanned branch. With the application, customers scanned their sandwiches and drinks immediately, payment was made by the deposited credit card. At the Wetzikon ZH station, a first fixed location will soon be created. According to a Valora spokesperson, the building permit procedure is still in progress.

Last week, Migrolino, a subsidiary of Migros, announced that it was working in a 24-hour self-service self-service store. The CEO of Migrolino, Markus Laenzlinger, does not want to mention the start date yet. "Technology has to be as easy as possible for customers, otherwise these concepts have no chance."

Although some customers are critical of these new formats, such as the introduction of ATM machines, self-blasting or ATM, Laenzlinger says. "The younger generation is less afraid of contact." It was not the goal of circumventing the labor law or reducing jobs.

Instead, it is about meeting the need for customers to be able to shop outside of the current opening hours. In addition, the potential is limited to sites with high traffic in major cities, especially near the train station. "There will not be a 24-hour store in every field and every valley. That would not be worth it.

In Asia, this is different. "There are countless 24-hour shops there, which are the outsourced refrigerator for many people. Because many do not have kitchen in their small apartments," says Laenzlinger.

In addition, data protection is treated much more peacefully in Asia, and customers with technology expertise do not care about the fact that they are screened on their cell phones in stores every shift.

While Migros and Valora are beginning to release their letters, Coop, Volg and Spar say they currently do not have such plans, but are following development closely. Marco Fuhrer, from Fuhrer & Hotz, estimates that over the next five years, 100 locations will be possible for 24-hour shops.

24-hour shopping: According to estimates, this should be possible in 100 locations in Switzerland over the next five years. Image: KEYSTONE

The union Unia criticizes this expansion: "We fear the loss of more jobs in the retail trade, precarious working conditions and more flexible and fragmented working hours." A few hours in the morning, a few hours at night, all in deep pens, "says a spokeswoman. This was stressful for the staff and not enough for life.

GAV does not apply at all

For gas station stores, Unia 2015 negotiated a collective labor agreement (GAV) with the sector, which includes 13,000 employees. He guarantees minimum wages, a 13th monthly salary and wage supplements for Sunday work. For Ticino, however, the GAV is not what Unia wants to change. In addition, the union is bothered by the fact that the Coop Pronto or Migrolino agencies, which are not part of the gas stations, are not subject to CLA, although both companies have their own CLA.

The Labor Law regulates periods of work and rest, but not the opening hours of the store. Night work is prohibited unless it is indispensable. On Sundays and evenings, only gas stations can employ employees located at highway service stations and in large traffic arteries. The offer must be for travelers. Today, there are only a handful of stores that make use of the 24-hour rule. "One of the reasons is the high cost with personnel," says one industry representative.

This may change in the future. (

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Migros wants to open mini-shops without staff – they work autonomously at night

The Migros subsidiary is planning new mini-agencies that will operate autonomously at night. Spicy is that Migros wants to copy the concept Valora. Because the two companies have already made common cause in the development of the convenience business.

The test made sense: in April, the Valora kiosk group installed a temporary branch of its staffless "Avec Box" convenience concept at the main station in Zurich. Customers were able to open the store themselves for 24 hours using an app and scan and pay for selected sandwiches, salads, and beverages. Valora has walked the rails of Amazon. The American giant has for some time been selling Amazon Go stores in North America …

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