Keells Supermarkets Design Strategy


  • Whippet


Despite its status as one of the largest operators dominating Sri Lanka’s growing retail sector, the “Keells Super” brand had not evolved since opening its doors as one of the country’s first retail chains some 25 years ago.

When consumer research confirmed that the out-dated brand and cluttered in-store experience were fuelling customer concerns about the freshness and quality of the supermarket’s produce, it was clear Keells needed to reinvent itself.

Key Features


We decided the most powerful way to revitalise the tired brand and shift broader customer perceptions about the freshness of supermarket produce in Sri Lanka was with the radical redesign of both the brand identity and heart of the brand itself – the store. 
The design needed to position Keells in a unique space in the hearts and minds of Sri Lankans. Insights told us that the market was looking for someone to deliver quality fresh produce and grocery items; the brand needed to support this strategy, a major shift for the client.


Bright, modern and crucially, designed to ensure Keells is synonymous with freshness, the new brand identity and “fresh” store concept position the supermarket as a leader in the retail sector. Reinforcing freshness at every customer touch point, Keells’ debut concept store saw sales increase 20% in the first month. 

With trading performance easily exceeding targets amid glowing customer feedback, Keells were quick to roll out the same superior retail experience across all of their stores. As of June 2018, 13 new-look stores had been built, another 30 refurbished and a further 250 planned for delivery over the next few years. 


The new brand delivers a bold statement to everyone that experiences it, a confident statement that not only evokes a reaction from the customer but galvanises the entire Keells team behind a brand that they are proud of.
The vivid green exterior featuring new lighting and signage delivers a memorable first impression of freshness, as well as an excellent opportunity to stand out from competitors. Spacious aisles and the addition of destination ‘hero’ areas including a Tuk Tuk, juice bar, ‘Foods of the world’ section and extended hot food offering disrupt the oft felt monotony of grocery shopping and delight the customers, prompting a new affinity with the brand. 


The tight deadline, 4.5 hour time difference and sheer geographical distance called for innovation! 
We embraced traditional design methods alongside the latest 3D modelling and game changing VR technology to visualise our store concept. Bridging any challenge related to geographical distance, we could walk the aisles of the Sri Lankan development from our office in Melbourne; thoroughly inspecting every new feature well before any construction began.


Our ‘Colombo Pop’ design scheme translated to packaging with ease, ensuring the new visual identity carried through to all aspects of the new store experience, delivering a truly integrated brand for the customer

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