Hema Food


The iconic and much-loved Dutch retailer HEMA created in 2021 a new strategy aiming to transform the department chain at its centennial in 2026. The development of a completely new store format is part of this journey. HEMA opened in March and April 2023 four pilot stores in the Netherlands. Sandenburg-DST was closely involved from idea to realization.

HEMA Alkmaar

HEMA 100 store concept

Our team worked for over a year with the HEMA team on building the new ‘HEMA 100 store’ concept with the focus on making customers happy again. Creating a strong impact on the brand promise and its mission ‘a better everyday life in a more beautiful world’. Our partner agency …, staat was responsible for the overall store concept and the non-food departments. Sandenburg-DST focused on the food department.

Four design principles were leading for our team members in the total trajectory from vision development, strategy, concept development and spatial design. The principles are ‘experience’, ‘loving’, ‘everybody’ and ‘young’. With experience we mean the trusted HEMA quality, human interaction, fresh and attractive, impulse and magnets. Loving implies that the HEMA brand is respected, positive, sustainable materials and authentic stories. Everybody stands for well-organized, recognizable, integrated and inclusive. Young translates to convenience, colorful, softness and slightly stubborn.

HEMA Hilversum

HEMA Food Department

Our goal was to showcase the HEMA Food department on the ground in a clearly defined and integral fashion, strengthening the recognizability and identity of HEMA. We choose to divide the food experience in three worlds. The starting points are young, innovative and clear shopper trips and magnets instore. The three worlds are ‘super quick’, ‘creative bakery’ and ‘the vibrant drink’.

The four pilot stores were really in need of a make-over. They were completely stripped and rebuild from the hull. Old rack materials were reused for the renovation of other stores. Currently there are about 100 HEMA stores in the Netherlands, where there is enough room for a stand-alone restaurant on the ground floor. In large stores there is a La Place restaurant on the first floor with freshly prepared sandwiches, coffee and cake. No buffet, but instead a food and barista bar where you can place your order.

HEMA Alkmaar

Community- based strategy

All other stores only have a take-away counter, placed in front of the store at the entrance. There are several factors at play that determine what a store will look like after a drastic renovation. The square meters are not only taken into consideration. In every district or neighborhood, a HEMA store needs to be relevant. CEO Saskia Egas Reparaz: “We also look at the specific needs of customers in the city where our store is based and the competition in the area. We adjust the assortment, making sure we are continually relevant for every customer.” (Source: Nu.nl).

“The commercial results of these pilot stores are fabulous. That is why HEMA has decided to renew more stores over the next two years in Holland, Belgium and France.”

Saskia Egas Reparaz, CEO HEMA

HEMA Assen

New features

The focus point of the new store concept is ease of use. Many features are new for HEMA and for its millions of customers. To mention a few. The energy-efficient lighted store offers everything 24 hours per day. Offering a broader assortment and everything for daily needs, like sport and more household products. The customer experiences more shopping convenience guided by new signage, illuminated category indication and a stand-alone counter for returning parcels. There is a fast check-out with a central checkout square, self-scan checkout units, a separate service counter and checkout points throughout the store. The new food department offers soft ice-cream which the customer can decorate on the spot, and freshly prepared scoop cookies from a social workshop. There is an assortment of small fresh sandwiches, a nude cake which can be decorated, the zero-alcohol liquor store and wine, neatly arranged for the right moments.

HEMA 100 years

Ever since being established in 1926 HEMA, the Hollandsche Eenheidsprijzen Maatschappij Amsterdam, has been the quintessential Dutch department store. A wide range of HEMA products from household goods to clothing and food can be found in many homes across the Netherlands and abroad. All of which are unique designs, designed at our head office in Amsterdam. With over 700 stores, there’s always a HEMA store to be found near you. Discover fun souvenirs, delicious treats or handy household items. A lot of our stores also have a restaurant where you can sit down, relax and enjoy a tasty meal or a nice cup of coffee.

Project team

Markus Konings

CEO Sandenburg-DST

Joram Meruwella

Spatial Design Lead

Jamie van de Bilt

Brand Designer