Coop Stores and Rising Stores, Sonae Sierra
2017 . Sonae Sierra
Challenge
Promotion of social entrepreneurship, simultaneously complementing the commercial mix and improving sales
Action
Coop Stores are a concept that aims to help small local businesses thrive. They explore a "cooperative" business model, one that means not being leased only to one operator, but rather to a collective group of small businesses and entrepreneurs through a flexible and affordable contract, benefitting from shared occupancy costs between new start-ups and the opportunity to broaden the visibility of their products, taking advantage of the high-level of visitors in a shopping centre.

The Rising Store is a programme aimed at entrepreneurs with innovative ideas through which Sonae Sierra intends to play an active role in the development of local commerce and services, allowing individual entrepreneurs, small businesses, start-ups, or local retail projects to develop in a sustained manner. In addition to the basic evaluation criteria (innovation and originality, relevance to the commercial offer of Sonae Sierra’s Shopping Centres, applicability of the concept and business potential), new concepts that promote positive behavioural changes and encourage the adoption of a more sustainable lifestyle, in particular eco-friendly concepts and/or social concerns are also positively valued.

The winners receive specialised help and are given the possibility of occupying a space in one of Sonae Sierra’s Shopping Centres, without paying rent for a period of six months (with the possibility of extending for a further six months, with a 50% discount on rent).

This concept offers a unique solution to three different needs: it helps to create jobs within the young population; it brings new retail concepts to the market and it diversifies the mix of tenants in response to consumer demand.
Impact
  • Since its launch in 2015, Coop Stores generated a total of 36 thousand euros in minimum remuneration and sales of more than 308 thousand euros. 100% of Coop Stores operators managed to grow their business, 89% of them contributed to the creation of new job opportunities in the market, most of them exceeding the sales targets.
  • Of the 110 applications to Rising Store’s first edition, 5 winners were chosen, who were given expert advice and assigned a site at one of Sonae Sierra’s centres for a free period, during which time they did not have to pay rent. After drafting their business plan, all stores have successfully opened their businesses, and the majority has largely exceeded sales targets. The second edition in Portugal and the first in Spain began in 2017 and are still ongoing, with the number of applications in Portugal increasing by 27%.
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