Customers are always doing surprising things and their use of our confectionery display over the past 2 months confirms this to me. For the standard Mars Bar and KitKat to fail to respond to my decision to give them both a triple facing has left me baffled. But never mind it is always best to ‘follow the customer’.

As revealed here, there were quite a few movers in our confectionery top 20 and the distinct message is that we have an older customer profile that go for the larger sizes of the best sellers. Also these products do benefit from an extra facing. The most significant revelation though is that our top sellers are so mobile with 75% of the lines in our top 20 changing their popularity rating.

The question Nick Shanagher asks about changing profitability is clearly important. Our profit reports show that in the 10 weeks up to 1st October the gross profit generated by confectionery was 3% up on the period before I made the display changes in August. Year on year sales and gross profit for the category are more than 10% up.

The key discovery of my trial on using our costs of display as a specific guide to how we merchandise is just how volatile our customer’s preferences are. It is clear that with an older customer base they do look for the big bar option and so far it would appear that giving our best selling lines a double facing has improved their sales success. A further review in another 6 weeks or so would seem appropriate and I will report on my findings towards the end of November.