1Mukesh Patel, Capel News, Dorking, Surrey
“At the moment, it’s a case of taking things on a month-by-month basis. Things are very different and always changing, so we can only do our best and see what’s around the corner. But one thing we’ve found is moving fast and that we’re stocking up on is price-marked packs (PMP).
“Most of the ones we’ve found and stocked, people are buying. Most people are cost-cutting these days, saving money for their energy bills, and that’s what’s needed. Our range used to be a 50/50 split between non-PMP and PMPs, but now, around 70% of our stock is PMP. Regardless of what the price is, people will think that a PMP is cheaper than a non-PMP.
“The profit margins aren’t as high, though, when you’re using PMPs, so that’s a question for small shop owners. As long as we can continue to pay the bills, then we’ll be here and can start to rebuild after a year or two.”
2Dean Holborn, Holborn’s, Redhill, Surrey
“Like everyone else, I think energy bills are going to be at the top of the agenda for us. The short-term help from the government is coming to an end, so we are going to have to look at every part of our store. We’ll look at the range, the prices and examine what fixtures are actually achieving for us.
“There will be events to look forward to next year, such as Valentine’s Day. Easter will be good and Mother’s Day is phenomenal for us because we have an additional florists business. Events like these will be used by people to lift their morale because there’s plenty of doom and gloom on the horizon.
“The king’s coronation is something to look forward to in particular. It will be a long weekend, a chance to dress our shelves and get the store looking good – all the things we’re good at as a business and as a sector. We can always find an occasion to make the shop look good.”
3Kelly Busby, Seaborn Stores, Morecambe, Lancashire
“The massive challenge in 2023 will be the cost-of-living crisis. There’s more stock available now, but prices are changing every week and people are a lot more savvy about what they’re buying. The biggest thing we have to do is show people that local shops offer good value. The fact is, people don’t want to go to the big supermarkets for a big shop at the moment. They’d rather come in each day and get what they need and then if there’s any money left over at the end of the week they might buy a bottle of wine or some beer.
“Using PMPs makes a massive difference because it shows the customer that it’s not us putting the prices up. The coronation should bring something with the extra bank holiday. If there’s nice weather, there might be street parties. People enjoy having an event to look forward to. Even if they’re not buying into the event, it’s still a long weekend and they can enjoy themselves.”