Rain? What rain? The future’s glorious!

Fresh fruit shelves

It would be easy to get downhearted after a poor summer and deflated sales, but instead we’re continuing to focus on the future with a number of improvements underway across the store.

by Antony Begley

It’s not unfair to say that the summer has been a washout, in more ways than one. The good days that we’ve had have been few and far between with lashing rain, heavy cloud, low temperatures and wind doing very little to help push our sales north in a period when we usually expect to see significant uplifts.

The umbrellas in our little café out the front have spent more time keeping rain off customers than sunshine, but we refuse to get downhearted! We’ve got plenty in the pipeline to keep us upbeat and optimistic.

Supervisory team

The new supervisory team of Gerry (General Manager), Melissa (Supervisor – Foodservice) and Louise (Supervisor – Retail) is already having a really positive effect on the whole business. Communications are now greatly improved with each Supervisor ensuring that the bigger picture is always in view all week long.

We fully expect this structure to keep developing and improving the business, and regular weekly meetings keep the team fully in the loop with everything they need to know. We’re currently in the process of organising a few little social events for the team too, in order to bring them closer as a team and focused on the same targets and goals.

Food to go & tillpoint refit

Big news! We’ve got the dates of the install confirmed as 13th and 14th September and we can hardly wait to see the new food to go and tillpoint area completely refitted.

We’ve begun work with Cuisine de France now to finalise the expanded range we’ll offer, over and above our existing traditional range, and we’re over the moon at the prospect of adding a whole new range of freshly baked bread, sweet lines and more.

E-cigs catman

Working with Blu, we’ve taken a proper category approach to e-cigarettes for the first time to create a dedicated, organised 1m fixture that features three of the leading brands: Blu, E-lites and Vivid. Read more about that from page 46 forwards.

Whisky POS

Another exciting development has been the creation of a new bespoke set of POS for our range of single malt whiskies. Working with Maxxium, we have split our range into their geographical regions on-shelf and have added POS (see picture below) which highlights each region and also offers some tasting notes for whiskies that are typical of each area.

Meal deals – revisited

After a few largely unsuccessful attempts at launching meal deals, we are using the relaunch of the food to go section as a catalyst to try a new series of meal deals with CCE. The plan at this stage is to launch a Breakfast Meal Deal, an All Day Meal Deal and a Healthy Meal Deal.

The details of what will be included in each deal are yet to be decided but we will flex them and trial several variants to see which works. High quality bespoke signage will be used to communicate the deals, and we’ll also include the meal deals in our three-weekly leaflets.

Up for the cup

Gerry and I are heading down to Birmingham shortly for the finals of Imperial Tobacco’s Ignite Awards – with bated breath and everything crossed. To be honest, we’re not overly confident but we will approach it with positivity and we intend to have a great night out and if we pick anything up, it’ll be a massive bonus.

Winning awards is important to us, so we do take it seriously.

Fresh approach

We have recently moved from Total Produce to Raith as fruit and vegetable suppliers, principally because of the better prices available that allows us to sell a much wider range at the magical £1 price point or below. These low prices are becoming particularly popular with consumers and we’re always pleased to meet shoppers’ needs.

Quality so far seems to be very good and we get as many deliveries a week as we need. Sales so far have been extremely encouraging and we are going to monitor the category closely.