Top up festive profits

growing christmas sales

Planning for the Christmas sales period gets earlier and earlier every year which makes the need for regular ‘top-up’ shops by retailers a critical part of the approach to the big day. SLR offers a few top tips on how to make sure you make the most of the period.


Christmas is a vital period each year for retailers and planning for the festive period seems to get earlier and earlier every year. This definitely helps retailers make the most of the season but creates its own problems as popular lines can sell out before those vital few weeks before December 25. This is where the ‘top-up’ shop comes into its own just as much for retailers as for shoppers.

Trystan Farnworth, Commercial Director, Convenience & Impulse at Britvic, comments: “Consumers spend 22% more during December and the Christmas period compared the rest of the year [Kantar, May 2018]. It’s no wonder when people are rushing around shopping for the perfect gift for their loved ones or stocking up for social occasions.”

Dual focus

Farnworth highlights a focus on two areas as key to truly leveraging Christmas: fast-moving single serve products; and strategic merchandising and promotions, particularly when it comes to a category like Soft Drinks.

“Busy customers will either be looking for a refreshing soft drink to quench their thirst during their shopping trip or stocking up for social occasions,” explains Farnham. “To help your shoppers easily locate items, retailers should group mixers and sharing formats of brands like Pepsi Max and 7Up Free together, and place them alongside accompanying alcoholic drinks [subject to licensing laws].”

He also advises placing multipacks and offers near the store front or till to put soft drinks at the forefront of customer minds, helping to drive incremental sales for retailers. “Price-marked packs are also important to reassure customers that they are getting value for money,” he adds.

Health & wellbeing

A key driver this year will be health and wellbeing, and this is true across all categories. This is a trend well worth embracing when doing the festive top-up order for delivery from your wholesaler or collection from the cash and carry.

The big night in

Christmas top-ups should also take into account the fact that there has been a real rise in the amount of people staying in to celebrate. The latest figures show that in 2017, 78% of shoppers opted to celebrate New Year’s Eve at home [HIM CTP, 2018]. This is creating a bigger opportunity for retailers to capitalise on sales of sharing and multi-packs of brands across various categories like soft Drinks, Confectionery, Crisps and Snacks and BWS.

Reduced alcohol consumption

Research conducted last year by Censuswide UK on behalf of Britvic revealed a growing demand for alcohol-free options at Christmas time. Almost half of consumers (45%) were set to buy more soft drinks, as figures showed that over a fifth (21%) planned to drink less alcohol. Consumers are increasingly moving away from wanting to eat and drink unhealthily, instead they are considering the potential negative effects and opting for healthier, non-alcoholic options.

Make it special

Coca-Cola European Partners’ Trade Communications Manager Amy Burgess, encourages retailers to stock special Christmas editions. She says: “Brands often launch special packaging or seasonal formats for Christmas. Display these in a prominent place to capitalise on the opportunity. At Christmas time, people will be looking for something special to add some sparkle to their celebrations. We’ve seen demand for premium products go up as more people choose to socialise at home.”

Think beyond Christmas

Jenny Leetch, Brand Manager at Costcutter Supermarkets Group, urges retailers to think beyond Christmas too when planning for the big day. She says: “The festive period often brings new shoppers through the doors, so give them a great shopping experience and they’ll be back in the New Year. Making the shopper’s visit as stress-free as possible is more important than ever at this time of the year, which is why retailers really need to up their game when it comes to in-store marketing, merchandising and festive displays.”

Britvic’s top tips for increasing Christmas sales
  • Cover all occasions – From Diwali to New Year, there is plenty to celebrate.
  • Listen to customers – Keep in touch with the latest customer trends and adapt your range to suit customer’s ever-changing tastes.
  • Merchandise effectively – Group relevant products together and use POS.
  • Don’t stop at one format – Stock a range of popular brands in a variety of formats.
  • Offer value for money – The festive period can be an expensive time for families so customers are searching for bargains. Promotions and PMPs build trust and show you are offering value-for-money.
  • Add a festive sparkle – Small additions like using festive POS, decorating the store or playing Christmas music in store can create that festive magic.