OPINION: ‘It isn’t waste – it’s category investment’

One of the five Fs at the heart of My Local is Full. For fresh produce and stock around seasons such as Easter or Christmas this will cause ‘Waste’ – or as Mike Greene prefers to call it, ‘Category Investment’.

As Mike told Retail Express Editor Louise Banham on My Local’s first day: "People come to us because they’ve run out. Out of stocks are doubly annoying in convenience than in supermarkets because if supermarkets haven’t got my brand they’ve probably four other choices.” 

Mike explained that when he worked as a consultant for Strasburger and was seconded to Shell UK to support their transition from traditional petrol station shops to modern convenience stores, policies were set up to help local managers.

To ensure that there were enough sandwiches available throughout the day the wastage – or Category Investment rate – was set at a maximum of 7% and a minimum of 2%. At less than 2% there would be too little stock to ensure sufficient availability.

My Local is investing around 5% to ensure that the ‘Full’ pillar of its business principles is delivered, but Mike adds he doesn’t want to see out of date products ending up in the bin.

So as well as doing price reductions where appropriate to move the items through, My Local stores will use ‘end of display’ bake-off products like sausage rolls for customer sampling. My Local stores are building a relationship with homeless shelters and giving products to support the work they do.

Mini EggsRamesh Shingadia and I had our road trip with Mike on the Monday before Easter, so large displays of Easter Eggs were in each store.

Mike said that he wants My Local to become known for availability for its seasonal range so he was expecting eggs to be available right up to Easter Monday. With the busiest days for Easter Egg sales still to come, he said that he would be happy if the stock remaining after Easter cost 5% of the sales in reductions to sell through.

“It’s about building the necessary level of credibility in customers’ minds so that they have the confidence to trust that My Local will be in stock every time they shop there,” says Mike.

How much do you invest in category availability in your store?


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