Convenience retailers can take advantage of a predicted fall in Christmas spend with a mix of dedicated loyalty schemes, careful stock positioning and savvy product orders. 

Card provider Visa released figures this week predicting a fall in UK consumer spending for the 2017 festive period, the first decline since 2012.

However, Rob Meakin, managing director at loyalty scheme provider Loyalty Pro said there were ways stores could capitalise. He said: “With fewer pounds to be spent, consumers will be looking at the best deals from the retailers that understand them best. A mix of personalised bargains and loyalty solutions could be the differentiator between a successful or unsuccessful Christmas.”

Joe Williams, of The Village Shop in Hook Norton, said he believed customers were spending less than they used to at Christmas. 

“People are cutting back, and seem more conscious of wastage – realising how much food they’ve thrown away in the past.

“The good news for us is they are increasingly shopping locally and topping up as and when they need to. Customers are realising there’s no need to panic and bulk buy food now. 

“It’s not like 10 or 20 years ago, when supermarkets would shut for two or three days.”

Ensuring his stock meets seasonal needs is also key to strong sales, he added. 

“Top-up shopping, people forgetting Christmas essentials like bin bags, butter, milk – that’s where our sweet spot is.”

Shane Woolston, manager of C T Baker Budgens of Aylsham said: “We retain customers through a ‘Christmas Club’ saving scheme, with shoppers buying stamps through the year which they can redeem in December.

“Having a post office in store is beneficial too. We get our standard lines from Booker, and then order in luxury Christmas products like chutneys and truffles from a specialist supplier, which we’ll position near the post counter.”