Christmas gifts have become a massive part of what shoppers expect a convenience store to have and you need to be on the ball.

You have to offer a mix of food and non-food gifts and don’t forget that consumers expect it to be wrapped and ready to go.

After Halloween, you need to give shoppers a rest for a week. We’ll tidy up the shop, have no big displays and make it all look totally clean. You need to make sure that your regulars notice a break. 

Then in the second week of November, we’re going to dedicate one gondola end to Christmas. Last year we had a Baylis & Harding stand packed with soaps, fragrances and candles and made a 50% margin.

We started with one shelf in November to let shoppers know that we stock it and then had three shelves later in the season with a two-for-£10 multibuy. I’m going to try and get that again.

Anyone can make the most of those last-minute gifts.

All you need to get started is a wicker basket, bottle of port, box of crackers and chutneys and mark it up. I’ve spent a lot of time at Costco and found you can buy large hampers from £30 and three-tier chocolate boxes with a bow. Make sure you are offering something different.

When you’re considering gifts, you have to weigh up the risk to the reward. Look at how many you’ll need to sell to break even and calculate if it’s worth it.

We’ll start our confectionery promotions early but we’ll remove all of them in the last week to increase our profits. Christmas is a critical period for convenience retailers and you have to act fast and respond to different needs throughout the season. Be bold and be inventive.