Retailer Profile: Jas Bhattle, Simply Local, Newton-le-Willows

Inspired by other retailers in the pages of Retail Express, Jas Bhattle decided he needed a bigger shop to make all the changes he wanted to his business.

When the social club in Newton-le-Willows went up for sale, he pounced. With the support of his mother Rani, he invested in a total refit under the Simply Local fascia and has quickly made his store the go-to shopping destination for the whole neighbourhood.

“When people come into the shop you can tell if it’s the first time they’ve been in because they stand there and they just look,” he says.

Simply Local is the value proposition of the Simply Fresh fascia, and Jas knew it would appeal because of its smart image
and focus on fresh, combined with its strong focus on value-for-money.

Fruit and veg displayed in wicker baskets line the entrance hall, followed quickly by the range of fresh meat and fish. The display of cooking sauces and condiments sits opposite the chilled section, making it as simple as possible for shoppers to get all the things they need to get cooking at home.

“At the weekends the chilled and frozen stuff really sells a lot,” he says.

“Because this is a bigger shop we’ve been able to increase the range. Having trolleys really helps too because it encourages people to do a full shop. They’re especially good for the elderly people.”

Every three weeks 3,500 of their leaflets are delivered to nearby homes, and on the first Monday of the latest promotion, shoppers trek to the store with leaflets in their hands to pick up the best deals. One of the hottest recently was a 25-wash box of Surf washing powder, reduced from £5.79 to £3.99.

To ram home the value offering, Jas also has a ‘£1 Big Deals’ display, with stock from specialist discount supplier OTL, offering everything from pens and plastic cutlery to toys and sweets.

Wherever there is a possibility to cross-sell categories Jas does so, whether it’s putting Walkers crisps with the soft drinks display or pub snacks with the chilled beer and cider.

To make the most of these displays, he is getting even more people through the doors by offering deals purely as footfall drivers. He is going to offer a loaf of Warburtons bread and two pints of milk for £2. To make sure he doesn’t lose any money on this he is negotiating a deal with his milk supplier to buy two pints for £1 instead of £1.07.

“Milk and bread are our main sellers – they’re what brings people into the
shop,” he says.

The decision to drop his studies halfway through university was not taken lightly, but Jas realised he wanted to go into business immediately. He is the first generation in his family to run a convenience shop and has ambitious plans for the future.

Currently much of the building which houses his shop still remains unused, but he wants to build a kitchen serving a US diner-style takeaway and an Indian restaurant all in the same complex. At 23 years of age, Jas is one to watch for the future.


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