Cash in on last-minute festive spend!

christmas decorations

As the big day draws ever closer, there will always be opportunities to boost festive spend by stocking a range of products that will help shoppers ensure the Christmas holidays are memorable.

Christmas comes but once a year and with it comes the prospect of shoppers loosening their purse strings a little, something that doesn’t happen too often these days.

As the big day nears, there will be plenty of opportunities to cash in on last-minute spending as your customers either replenish Christmas supplies they already bought (but have already started tucking into) or indulge in a few unplanned splurges to add a few items that will help make the festive period go with a swing.

SLR has a few ideas for things that might help you drive up spend and profit this Christmas and New Year….


You’ve no doubt made sure that your vital soft drinks fixtures are in good shape for the big day, but have you thought about mixers? How is that particular fixture looking? Is there plenty of choice in terms of products and pack formats?

Amy Burgess, Senior Trade Communications Manager at Coca-Cola European Partners, advises: “Mixers are popular options at Christmas as consumers look for ‘special’ drinks that capture the excitement of the holiday season like cocktails and non-alcoholic mocktails. Mixers grew by more than a fifth last Christmas as more people looked to recreate their favourite mixed drinks at home.

“Schweppes continues to be one of the nation’s favourite mixer brands as well as the biggest in the convenience channel, delivering double-digit growth. With this in mind, Schweppes Tonic and Schweppes Slimline Tonic 1-litre PET bottles are must-stocks on the lead up to Christmas alongside alcohol ranges.”


Lots of shoppers love a bit of cheese at Christmas and New Year and, while the obvious choices may be Stilton or mature cheddar, don’t overlook Boursin. Penetration in the speciality cheese category more than doubles during December with 18.4% of shoppers only buying into the category at Christmas [Kantar]. This creates a big opportunity for retailers to attract new and light users.

Boursin is both the fastest-growing indulgence cheese (+20%) in value and the number one indulgent cheese at Christmas.

Sales will be bolstered with the return of the “Merry Boursin” campaign, maximising brand visibility during December.

Brussel Sprouts crisps

You can’t beat a festive gimmick to liven up a Christmas get-together and crisp brand Walkers has it down to a fine art with its range of Christmas dinner flavours – including the infamous Brussels Sprouts variant that’s certain to spark a few conversations at any party.

Back by popular demand, the range was a huge hit last Christmas; this year’s offer is set to perform equally well. New for 2019, £1 price-marked pack formats also join the line-up, available in two of the nation’s favourite festive flavours: Pigs in Blankets and Turkey & Stuffing.

Two multipacks are available: one for the sprout lovers and the other for the sprout haters. Christmas dinner for sprout lovers includes Brussels Sprouts, Turkey & Stuffing and Pigs in Blankets. Christmas dinner for sprout haters includes Glazed Ham, Turkey & Stuffing and Cheese & Cranberry.

Nick Day, Brand Manager, at PepsiCo, comments: ‘‘The return of the Walkers Christmas flavours comes in response to the buzz and talkability generated last year, and the huge demand from consumers. This year, we are also excited to launch two new £1 PMPs in our most popular festive flavours. We hope to spread the festivity, and continue to invite customers to decide whether they’re a #SproutLover or #SproutHater.”

Functional drinks

For many Scots, ‘functional’ drinks at Christmas time usually means beers, wines and spirits that perform the invaluable function of lubricating a pleasant get together – but just as important are those other ‘functional’ drinks like market leader Red Bull, which help shoppers make it through the festive period in one piece.

Mark Bell, Strategy and Planning Manager at Red Bull UK, says: “Soft drinks is a seasonal category, with 19% more sales at Christmas compared to the rest of the year and 22% more for multipacks. This means retailers should ensure they are supporting Soft Drinks and Energy Drinks at Christmas by stocking the right formats and brands. Sales in Christmas 2018 accounted for two-thirds of the growth of Functional Energy drinks during the festive period.”

Also generating interest will be the newish energy offerings Coke Energy and Irn-Bru Energy.

Chocolate tins

Christmas is simply not Christmas for many without a slight over-indulging when it comes to chocolate. Susan Nash, Trade Communications Manager at Mondelez International, says: “Shoppers spent a record-breaking £937m on confectionery over Christmas 2018, and this year is once more set to bring retailers their biggest ever seasonal sales. Chocolate is the most frequently consumed and gifted category at Christmas, so it’s essential that retailers prepare early to deliver a ‘Festive Finish’ to maximise their shoppers’ spend.”

Mondelez says that in the days leading up to Christmas, shoppers will look to stock up on sharing and gifting tins to ensure there are enough treats to go around on the big day. So to help retailers make the most of the final Christmas purchases opportunity, it has refreshed its much-loved Cadbury selection tins.

Worth a try is Cadbury Heroes, which is marking two decades on the market with a special edition 20th Birthday Tin. Also, Cadbury Roses has unveiled a new gifting tin as part of the brand’s partnership with watch and jewellery designer Olivia Burton. The Olivia Burton for Roses Tins’ eye-catching designs will stand out on shelf to capture additional sales from shoppers this year as they look for a unique festive gift.

Christmas Ginger

The daddy of Scottish brands, Irn-Bru, is offering retailers a couple of opportunities to drive higher value, higher volume sales this Christmas with two limited edition launches: Irn-Bru 1901 and Irn-Bru Crimbo Juice.

1901 is the ‘new and unimproved’ Irn-Bru made to the original Irn-Bru recipe – complete with sugar, and lots of it, while Crimbo Juice features a “phenomenal ‘Spiced Ginger’ festive flavour – regular Irn-Bru with warming ginger, clove and cinnamon notes”.

The company says 90% of Scottish consumers “want Irn-Bru to launch a limited-edition flavour” so you can expect both lines to do well over the next few weeks.

A new tradition?

Pepsi Max is back on TV this Christmas as it challenges shoppers to “try a new tradition this Christmas”, highlighting what it views as the brand’s no-sugar great taste credentials.

This large-scale support provides a key sales opportunity for operators, especially during the busy Christmas period, which last year saw 60% of households make a cola purchase.