Raising your spirits: Increase your alcohol sales

Are you doing everything you can to grow spirits sales? Here, RN joins Diageo’s Ben Jackman as he advises two retailers on how to boost sales in the category.

Are you doing everything you can to grow spirits sales? Here, RN joins Diageo’s Ben Jackman as he advises two retailers on how to boost sales in the category.

Spirits sales in the convenience sector are worth £796m, with premium spirits seeing growth of 6.8% in the year to July 2017. As part of Diageo’s My Store Matters programme, which identifies key merchandising techniques and recommendations to help independents make the most of the opportunities in the category, Diageo’s Ben Jackman and Benjamin Inwood visited two London retailers. With their advice on range, merchandising and display, can they boost sales over the next six weeks?



The Experts:


Ben Jackman

Business Development Executive, Diageo




Benjamin Inwood 

Head of Field Sales, Diageo



The Opportunity

  • Spirits sales in the convenience sector are worth £822m, growing at +2% year on year
  • Premium spirits are driving growth in the category, with sales up by +9%



Focus on


Manmohan Ghatora

Barnett’s Deli, Stanmore

The biggest challenge for me in the spirits category is that I don’t drink alcohol myself – so I don’t feel confident about what my shoppers want from a spirits range. For example, are they looking for smaller sizes, premium brands or NPD at the moment? There are also so many brands out there and a lot of new products coming out. I would really benefit from advice on the category and current trends so I can better cater to my customers.

Ben Jackman advises:

Manmohan has a limited amount of space in his store, so it’s important to stock a core range of the bestselling lines and sizes. At the moment, a few of the biggest sellers are missing, including Gordon’s 35cl and Smirnoff 20cl, and there are a few gaps in his display. His spirits lines also aren’t arranged by product type in his current fixture, so there is an opportunity to make his display easier to navigate.



Action plan

  • Display: Merchandise your fixture so that products of the same type are placed together vertically. This will make it easier to shop.
  • Grab attention: Use eye-catching gift boxes to package premium brands, drawing shoppers’ attention to them. Use the cocktail ideas on the boxes as talking points for consumers, too.
  • Plan ahead: Make sure you have enough of your bestsellers in your stockroom ready for peak times, so you don’t miss out on any sales.



Diageo’s tips for your store:

  • Block together sub-categories on shelf, i.e. all vodka together, to help shoppers see what is available more easily
  • Make sure premium products are clearly visible for customers to capitalise on impulse buys.
  • Fractionals are seeing growth across all spirits categories, so stock the bestselling lines in 20cl and 35cl bottles



Focus on


Kamlesh Patel 

Londis Manor Park, London

Price and promotions are important to us – there are a Tesco and a petrol station nearby so we have to be competitive. A challenge in the spirits sector is encouraging shoppers to try new products. Our biggest sellers are vodka, particularly Russian Standard, and smaller bottles. There’s a trend for fruit flavoured spirits, especially around holidays and festivals. I would like to hear about how to improve the range to get the most out of sales.

Ben Jackman says:

Kamlesh has a fantastic range as it is, and he’s already stocking the bestselling spirits lines across all the key sizes. At the moment, some of the biggest selling premium lines are displayed below the customer’s eye level, so shoppers could be missing them. He is also offering several of his spirits lines at below RRP. He could boost margins instead by encouraging shoppers to trade up to more premium or on-trend products.

Action plan:

  • Visibility: Use clear on-shelf labelling, PoS and shelf strips to clearly highlight your range and competitive pricing
  • Premium brands: As there is an opportunity to boost sales of premium spirits, display lines like Ciroc higher up and centrally in your fixture
  • Trends: Bring on-trend spirits, such as gin, closer to the till to cash in on up-and-coming lines.

What happens next?

Manmohan and Kamlesh will follow Diageo’s advice for the next six weeks. We will compare sales data from both stores to see how the changes help boost their sales.




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