Costcutter Acomb York

Costcutter Acomb

8 Sanderson Court, Bramham Avenue, Acomb, York, YO26 5DX

2,000sq ft

Expansion for most retailers usually involves adding stores to their existing estate. However, York retailer Nadeem Ashraf took a different approach of reducing the number of shops he runs.

The Costcutter retailer recently decided to downsize from four stores, developed over the course of 14 years, and focus on the one site in Acomb – a neighbourhood area based three miles away from the city centre.

“I had a few stores in and around York, but the decision has allowed me to not just focus my attention on developing this one store, but also spend more time with family. Having four stores taught me that being a multi-estate retailer was maybe a bit too much for me, so I scaled down and focused on Acomb, which was the busiest of the four,” Ashraf says.

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The decision has clearly paid off, helping the 2,000sq ft site become a vital shop for nearby residents – a mix of low-income and more affluent earners. “The pandemic definitely had an impact on the way we serve our customers,” says Ashraf.

“We face competition from a nearby Morrisons, but residents have come to rely on us more over the past year and half. We’ve been offering new services such as home delivery to the vulnerable and those who can’t leave their homes.

“We also had the availability when the supermarkets had empty shelves. Not only did we help our existing customers, but also gained many new ones in the process. When we first opened, our sales were only £15,000 per week. Now it’s £40,000 a week.”

The store offers traditional convenience products, such as newspapers, snacks and drinks, but has since expanded its range to not just match, but also beat the multiples in certain categories.

“We have a wide range behind the till and we’re seeing how the latest trends, such as disposable e-cigs, will do for us,” he says.

Keeping the store relevant

The store offers a traditional mix of convenience store goods, but Ashraf has demonstrated he is also looking at the latest trends with an extensive vaping range behind the till. Traditional products such as cigarettes have been moved into drawers to make way for disposable e-cigarettes and nicotine pouches.

Home delivery has also been a major service for the shop since the pandemic started, and a partnership with Snappy Shopper has helped Ashraf reach a wider customer base.

“We have a banner outside the shop advertising our partnership with Snappy Shopper. It immediately draws the attention of customers when they walk in, and increases the likelihood of them seeing what the service is. We’re always looking to make the store as interesting as we can and move it forward to meet the needs and tastes of customers,” he says.

How I keep customers informed
Costcutter Acomb York

Prior to becoming a retailer, Ashraf completed a university degree in marketing while in the US and has used this experience in his current occupation as a store owner.

“The marketing experience I have is useful and I am using it to promote different areas of the store in an attempt to increase sales and footfall.

Social media is a big part of that, and I make sure the store details and photos are always up to date on our Google page.

“We also have a Facebook page, and we use this as an opportunity to inform customers about any new products or promotions we have in the shop.

“Other main areas of marketing we use are leaflets, posters in the shop windows and the in-store radio that is on all the time,” he says.

“Social media is the way forward for any market and, although we don’t have an Instagram page yet, this is one area we’re looking to expand into.”

How I expanded my store

Since choosing Acomb as his sole focus, Ashraf identified chilled as an area of opportunity and has added several chillers across the store as part of a refit several years ago. The middle of the store has a bay of freezers dedicated to stocking frozen ready meals while customers are instantly drawn to the Co-op own-label range with shelf barkers displayed prominently throughout.

The expanded chilled range allows him to cater to nearby families who are after evening meal options for dinner.

“Crisps and confectionery are the bestselling categories in the shop and when we took on this store, it did not have a big chilled range. We expanded and put some new fridges in. Since then, the chilled range has really picked up. Residents know they can get the same stuff as the supermarkets here and the prices are competitive. Once they know that, they don’t really go anywhere else,” he adds.

How I remain competitive
Costcutter Acomb York

Promotions – such as £1 deals – are a major part of Ashraf’s store and feature prominently throughout. An extensive newspaper and magazine range helps the store meet the demands of an older customer base, while a large beers, wines and spirits (BWS) section, alongside cases of beer scattered throughout the shop, helps him cater to increased demands for barbecues and home entertaining during the summer period.

The BWS displays have been deliberately arranged to attract the attention of customers.

He says: “The store has been affected by the availability issues experienced nationwide. However, Costcutter has helped with availability and the promotions are good. They’re good as a supplier and have been supportive over the past year. Costcutter is a local company to York and if we have any issues, we can go straight to them for support.”

Find Costcutter Acomb in York

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