Last year, Retail Express visited The Food Barn in Southampton. Twelve months on, RE catches up with co-owner Ian Smith, who runs the store with his brother Gary.
How’s business been since last year?
Business has been good over the past year. There has been growth but it’s been fairly minimal. We’ve seen an increase in footfall and we are definitely seeing more customers thanks to PayPoint Parcel, which seems to be working well for us. With the sun shining in the summer, we sold loads of soft drinks, which are great for footfall but not that good for making money.
Are there any new lines that are doing particularly well?
We have increased our range of non-food items, such as plasticware, where we can match Poundland on price. Pet food seems to be doing really well for us, too.
Have you introduced anything new?
We have brought in loyalty cards, which has proved very successful for us. The only problem we have had with it so far is the company we were doing it with has gone bust. We are now working with the Retail Data Partnership on our own bespoke software – and we will be up and running with it again after Christmas.
Last year you were looking at online ordering, did you introduce that?
It is now up and running but it has not been the kind of success we’d hoped it would be. Having said that, these things do take a bit of time.