German Supermarkets Become Senior-Friendly

Senior-friendly grocery stores in Germany CBS

Since Germany's Kaiser grocery stores were transformed from supermarkets to "senior markets," their customers have become their best commercial. CBS News correspondent Richard Roth reports from Berlin.

From the shoppers who love the new step at the dairy case, putting everything in easy reach, to the lady who adores the new "relaxation zone."

The makeover widened the aisles with non-skid floors and brightened the lighting.

Price labels got larger and packaging got smaller — for the smaller household, the sign says.

For smaller print, the store has magnifying lenses hanging from shelves and shopping carts. And the carts have been redesigned with built-in seats for weary shoppers — a feature Adam Koenig says he likes, but doesn't need.

"I am retired, but not tired," he laughs.

Younger customers are welcome, too — but the emergency call buttons and all the rest are designed for a different demographic: a supermarket for Germany's grey market.

The population that's fuelled Europe's biggest economy is growing old, fast. A third of all Germans will be over 50 by the end of the decade. This isn't a noble experiment in social welfare; it's a business calculation.

Tobias Tuchlenski, the supermarket chain's regional manager, says revenues at the store are already up 30 percent.

"Sure we see a profit. ... This is a very good market for us because ... they spend more money for food than other people."

But Germans aren't the only ones growing old fast. Seniors will soon lead U.S. population growth, too.

It's really not hard to see that this is an idea Americans may want to examine.
  • Amy Clark

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