People are watching their wallets these days, but I am finding that there are some lower-end products that just aren’t selling nearly as well as higher-priced products. There doesn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason to it, but we’re looking to take advantage where we can.
I got some flowers in from Londis a few weeks ago, we’re selling bunches of them at £4, £6 and £7, and people are paying that without even thinking about it, bringing us a 30% margin.
Similarly, we have a local tea and coffee supplier, and some teas sell at £5.50 or £5.95, and we are selling more of them than the Euro Shopper products that cost £1.25. We have eight different expensive coffees and a good tea range from Kent and Sussex Tea – you don’t get the reflux with their teas, they’re very good. It sometimes makes you wonder who’s shopping with you. In some cases, we’ve had customers returning to the store because of our tea and coffee range. We’re also generating impulse sales from customers who see it on the shelf.
We stock another local company that makes curries. If you go to a curry house now, you’ll be spending £9-£10.50, but our prices start at £7.85 for a chicken curry without rice. It’s fresh – the spices are authentically Indian and the meat and vegetables are from local suppliers. We consistently do £150-£200 every fortnight with these curries.
We’re selling more frozen sausages than fresh sausages. They’re buying 3lb of sausages, which we get from a local Kent-based company called Corkers, at £10.65, and they’re ignoring the Jack’s range, which sells at £2.49.
We have local wines we sell from a vineyard 120 yards away from the shop. We sell them at the same price they’re sold for in the vineyard and some of them are £27 a bottle. We sell more of those than bottles of gin.
I think most retailers are already always trialling out new products and usually have a product on offer at the lower end and then something with a higher price. And there’s often not much logic as to what will sell. But it’s whether we’re brave enough to take that chance and say ‘we’re going to spend £150 or £200 on these products and then try to sell them at a good margin’. Can we always afford to take that risk? If you’ve got something good, people will always pick up on it.
Read more of our expert opinion on the independent retail sector