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How to beat the January blues: preparing your store for 2023

January is traditionally a tricky month for convenience stores. The betterRetailing team finds out what retailers are expecting next year and how they’re preparing

How to beat the January blues: preparing your store for 2023

The general sentiment among many retailers is that January 2023 will be the month when the effects of the cost-of-living crisis will really be felt. So far, the World Cup and Christmas have kept customers’ confidence high, with spending and footfall still going strong, but when they’re over and the new year begins, retailers aren’t expecting as much spend from their customers. 

“At the moment, it’s very much Christmas as normal for our customers,” says Dean Holborn, from Holborns in Redhill, Surrey. “But I think January will be a different matter and people will be thinking more about energy bills, where they’re going shopping and what they’re spending. I have no high expectations for January.” 

However, there is also hope that there will be an increase in footfall as customers eschew lengthy and more expensive trips to the supermarket in the cold and instead top up what they need from local stores on a day-to-day basis. Just as stores have seen increased alcohol sales this Christmas as people have saved money by avoiding pubs and bars, in January the avoidance of ‘the big shop’ could also play into their hands. This means retailers need to be focusing their attentions on attracting these customers with good promotions, product ranges, deals and pack sizes. 

“It sounds weird, but convenience retailers should be milking it because if people are feeling the pinch, they should be shopping locally more often,” says Mike Nicholls, from Costcutter Dringhouses in York. “In January, you should be preparing yourself for Easter and keeping your store nice and interesting. I find if I do that, January sales can be quite good.” 

January is also the time to step up Easter promotions, with most retailers already filling their shelves with Easter stock before Christmas. 

“Our Easter stock is already out and we carry Christmas gift chocolates right through to Valentine’s Day,” says Kelly Busby, from Seaborn Stores in Morecambe, Lancashire. 

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