Pricewatch: 2 March, 2018 - ales and stouts

Analysis

Dark ales and stouts are specialist products retailers say aren’t as suited to RRP as other alcoholic beverages. Our data shows an overwhelming 93% of stores charge more than Booker’s £1.95 RRP for a bottle of Hobgoblin. 

The most popular price point is £2.19, with 35% of those surveyed choosing this price. Our interviews this week show exactly why. 

The retailers who charge more than RRP do so because Hobgoblin is a slow-selling line, and retailers prioritise earning strong margins on it. They don’t shy away from using promotions where possible either, using multibuy deals, for example, as a way to push sales. 

Profit checker

PRICE Price distribution %

Price checker

AVERAGE UK RETAIL PRICE BOOKER RRP LARGE STORE IN RURAL SUFFOLK VILLAGE HIGH STREET SHOP IN CORNISH COASTAL VILLAGE C-STORE IN SUBURBAN OXFORD C-STORE AND OFF-LICENCE IN WEST LONDON HIGH STREET C-STORE IN SOUTH CHESHIRE VILLAGE LARGE NEIGHBOURHOOD SHOP IN SOUTH LONDON RESIDENTIAL AREA
NEWCASTLE BROWN ALE 550ML £2.24 £2.49 £2.53 £2.39 £2.79 £1.99 £2.09 -
GUINNESS DRAUGHT 440ML £1.45 £1.59 - - £1.39 £1.20 - £1.25
GUINNESS ORIGINAL 500ML 4-PACK £5.34 £6.29 - £6.55 £5.30 - - -
GUINNESS DRAUGHT 440ML 10-PACK £12.80 £14.99 £14.99 - - - £14.99 -
SHARPS DOOM BAR EXCEPTIONAL AMBER ALE 500ML £2.38 £2.49 £2.49 £2.65 £2.49 - £2.09 £2.30
JOHN SMITH'S EXTRA SMOOTH 440ML 10-PACK £11.30 £11.99 - £11.99 - - £11.99 -
GUINNESS FOREIGN EXTRA STOUT 330ML £1.62 £1.95 - - £1.69 £1.40 - £1.50
HOBGOBLIN STRONG DARK ALE 500ML £2.18 £1.95 £2.29 £2.09 - - £1.99 £2.30
BISHOPS FINGER ALE 500ML £2.22 £2.19 £2.19 £2.39 - £2.29 £1.99 £2.30
OLD SPECKLED HEN 500ML £2.39 £2.49 £2.49 £2.49 £2.49 - £2.09 £2.30
MCEWAN'S EXPORT 500ML £1.41 £1.59 - - - £1.49 - -
FULLER'S LONDON PRIDE BITTER 500ML £2.44 £2.49 £2.49 £2.49 £2.49 £2.29 £2.09 £2.30
Data supplied by
Data supplied by

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How we drive our profit

David Sands Avatar

David Sands

Nisa David's Kitchen

Location: Glenrothes, Scotland

Size: 3,000sq ft

Type: neighbourhood

Top Tip
Providing staff with knowledge about these specialist products is an essential part of selling them
Margins on ales and stouts are quite decent, at 30%. We tend to go for higher margins because they aren’t big sellers, so we need to go above the RRP. I’m actually thinking of condensing the range I stock. We hold tastings in the store each month to try and promote these drinks more – they’ve always been a bit of a specialist product and not many customers are too familiar with them, so we need to put a bit more effort into raising awareness of them. I try to promote local ales alongside them too, because regional brands are popular among nearby residents.
Rav Garcha Avatar

Rav Garcha

Nisa Broadway Store

Location: Birmingham

Size: 1,800sq ft

Type: high street

Top Tip
Ales and stouts can be slow sellers, but promoting them with snacks can help increase your sales
I often run promotions such as three bottles for £6 and this still gives me margins of more than 15%. Merchandising is particularly important for increasing sales because these products aren’t really mainstream and many customers won’t know about them. We give dark ales and stouts their own standalone display in the store to draw more attention to them and we have regular promotions to encourage customers to buy more. The customers who tend to buy them are ale enthusiasts themselves and enjoy them with snacks. We merchandise crisps and nuts near them.
Anita Nye Avatar

Anita Nye

Premier Eldred Drive Stores

Location: South London

Size: 800sq ft

Type: residential

Top Tip
Make products such as Hobgoblin visible, because they’re more of a specialist product
My sales of Hobgoblin are quite steady compared to more popular brands such as Foster’s or Carlsberg, which we sell more than 12 bottles of a week. I find it is most popular with older customers who are in their mid-thirties and above. We price single bottles above the £1.95 Booker RRP, at £2.49, but we also have them on promotion at three for £5. This gives us margins of more than 20%. This promotion is really useful because it helps encourage sales – these products can be slow sellers because they are so niche.
Ken Singh Avatar

Ken Singh

Mill Hill Stores

Location: Pontefract

Size: 800sq ft

Type: residential

Top Tip
Never go above a £3 price point because this can really put potential customers off
Ales and stouts such as Doom Bar and Hobgoblin are slow sellers, so we charge slightly above RRP on them. We get them from Booker and the prices we set mean we can earn a decent margin ranging from 20% to 30%. We always place drinks like these towards the front of the shelves and chillers to try and attract more attention because only a certain number of customers know about these products. The design of a lot of the cans and bottles really help with them as well, because they stand out much more than those from traditional brands such as Carlsberg and Foster’s.

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