In the latest instalment of our special InAction+ series of features with confectionery giant Perfetti Van Melle, we catch up with retailers Natalie Lightfoot and Ferhan Ashiq to find out how they’ve been getting on with growing footfall, sales and profits in the confectionery category.
The last year or so has been a challenging one on many fronts for both retailers and consumers – but the fact that more shoppers than ever have come to rely on their local store has been a boom for the sector. The impact of that trend has been seen in the till as sales across most categories have experienced significant increases – but there’s always room for more growth.
That’s why we hooked up with international confectionery giant Perfetti Van Melle (PVM) and a couple of Scotland’s leading local retailers: Natalie Lightfoot of Londis Solo in Baillieston and Ferhan Ashiq of Day Today Prestonpans.
The challenge? To bring some fresh excitement to the confectionery category and see if, by working together, we could boost footfall, sales and profits even more in an already buoyant category.
And let’s face it, with the challenges of lockdown and the pandemic, it’s hardly surprising that many shoppers have been looking for affordable, enjoyable treats that can add a little sparkle to their day.
To put this in-store trial in to some sort of context, it’s worth noting that the total Sugar Confectionery market is worth a whopping £1.22bn in the UK.
Within this, PVM’s share is worth over £55m with sales driven primarily by key brands like Mentos – worth £20m – and Fruittella, worth £18m. The confectionery giant is, however, targeting further growth and is placing special emphasis on the Scottish market. This upweighted focus on Scotland is centred around the critical impulse occasion and the opportunity to grow unplanned sales and further increase basket spends.
Confectionery remains one of the top purchases in the local retailing channel and in this project we are working with our partners to help unlock more opportunities to grow sales and profits.
What have we been up to?
In this project we were keen to keep it simple and to illustrate how small changes can make a big difference in-store. A new range of products and POS was installed in both test stores and sited in various high traffic areas to help drive impulse sales.
Natalie and Ferhan also received professionally-designed social media collateral to help them advertise their new products to their customers on Facebook and Instagram.
Part of the project focuses on the recently refreshed packaging and design for the entire Fruittella product range, which runs across all 30 SKUs.
The aim of the refresh was to grow the appeal of the brand to young adults. Fruittella’s carbon footprint was reduced through the use of thinner and more lightweight packaging that will save over five tonnes of plastic every year.
We are delighted to report that the new ranges and POS were a big hit in-store for both Natalie and Ferhan – with full support from a PVM rep, both retailers embraced the opportunity enthusiastically.
Ferhan comments: “When we first received the new gelatine-free stand, we sited it next to the ATM to try to drive impulse sales as customers waited on their cash. Sales were good and we were pleased – but then we moved the unit to the till point just to see what would happen. Wow! We sold the entire outer of Mentos Choco & Mint in a day and half. Our customers couldn’t get enough of them!
“The Mentos Fruit product was also hugely popular and was our second-best seller, selling 24 packs in the first 24 hours. Mentos Rainbow and Spearmint were also popular and sold really, really well.”
Mentos Choco & Mint was also Natalie’s star performer, as she explains: “Mentos Choco & Mint was our best selling product, and still is. We rattled through the outers in no time and, despite availability challenges from our wholesaler, we managed to get stock in and keep our customers happy! We sold 73 units of Mentos Choco & Mint in the first week and 59 and 50 respectively of the Mentos Mint and the Mentors Rainbow roll.
“You have to remember that we didn’t stock most of these lines before so we’re growing the category and we’re growing choice for our shoppers. We work hard to introduce new and interesting confectionery, so these lines have really helped.”
Both Natalie and Ferhan said that a 2-for-£1 deal they trialled was an enormous success. “At the till point, a 2-for-£1 deal will always sell well and we will definitely be keeping these lines in stock moving forward,” says Natalie. “The stand is really vibrant and eye-catching too, so that definitely helps drive impulse sales. We’ve been really pleased!”
Ferhan agrees: “The 2-for-£1 deal was a massive hit for us too. That really took sales up to another level and, as Natalie says, the stand itself is really well designed. It’s quite compact but very eye-catching.”
The lines have also been popular with shoppers doing home delivery orders, particularly when Natalie and Ferhan highlighted the new range on their social media posts. Ferhan explains: “PVM kindly did a very professional post for us, and we suggested that customers added a product or two to their home delivery order – and lots of them did! Every little additional sale matters, so it’s been a great project!”
Meet the retailers…
Taking part in our very first InAction+ in-store project are Londis retailer Natalie Lightfoot and Day Today retailer Ferhan Ashiq.
Together with her husband Martin, Natalie runs the multi-award winning Londis Solo Convenience Store in Baillieston in Glasgow.
Natalie and Martin are the reigning SLR Confectionery Retailers of the Year so are the perfect partners for a project aiming to boost sales in this vital category.
The pair have been retailers for over 13 years and despite the store’s small size at under 600sq ft, they manage to maintain a strong range of products with a particular focus on confectionery.
Another seasoned retailer, Ferhan owns and runs a highly successful Day Today store in Prestonpans that offers a great range of products and services, including a significant food-to-go business.
Ferhan is a very active, engaged retailer and is the current Scottish President of the Federation of Independent Retailers (NFRN).
He also has a very strong confectionery offering and relies heavily on his EPoS system to ensure his range is optimised and reviewed regularly.
For more information on this article, or PVM’s loyalty reward scheme, call 01753 442 112.