Having two universities within the throw of a text book of his store, Khuram Pervez put on his thinking cap and quickly worked out what his customers wanted.  Steven Lambert listened and learned

Located within walking distance of two of north England’s biggest universities, Khuram Pervez’s Nisa Loco store in Newcastle-upon-Tyne has become something of a haven for thousands of students looking for respite from their studies.

To this end, the retailer has taken it upon himself to cater his business around the needs of local academics – and is teaching his competition a thing or two about increasing trade in the process.

 <figcaption>Create imaginative displays to get your customers thinking and talking about you</figcaption>” width=”174″ height=”300″> Create imaginative displays to get your customers thinking and talking about you</figure><p>Khuram says: “We’re about 15 minutes away from both Northumbria and Newcastle universities, so a lot of our footfall comes from students. I used to be a student, so did my brother, who helps me out in the shop. So we know a lot of the things that they’re looking out for and we’ve geared the business towards them.”</p><p>The store has everything your typical student would be looking out for and more – whether that’s appealing deals on confectionery and alcohol or quick meals to grab between classes.</p><p>Khuram says: “We’ve had the store for two years now and, in that time, we’ve made a few changes that have helped us increase sales.</p><p>“For example, we noticed that a lot of students were buying real ales, so we’ve increased our range from 10 lines to just over 40. We also have them on a three for £5 deal, which has been really popular.</p><p>“We’ve also increased our chilled space to 16 metres to add more ready meals and fresh pizzas.”</p><p>Khuram adds that he is working with a local sandwich supplier, Café Class, to offer a meal deal to hungry undergraduates: “We’ve also agreed a deal with Walkers, so now we’re offering a bag of crisps, a sandwich and a drink for £2.99.”</p><p>Having built up a large following with these shoppers, Khuram is looking to consolidate this further with the launch of a student discount card, which he is working on with Nisa.</p><p>He says: “I sit on Nisa’s IT committee, and this is something we’re hoping to launch ahead of fresher’s week in September. We’re finalising the details at the moment, but we’re hoping to offer 5% to 10% discounts on a typical shopping basket, excluding things like alcohol and tobacco.”</p><p>While the university crowd represents a large chunk of his trade, Khuram is also mindful of offering a wide range of products and services for the rest of his other shoppers.</p><p>Being an independent retailer is hard work, but the appreciation you get from customers makes it all worthwhile</p><p>This has led him to sign his business up to e-commerce website Cornershop Online to offer his customers the ability to place online orders for home delivery or collection.</p><p>Khuram says: “We did offer deliveries to a number of customers before, and we were getting through orders of between £60 and £100. But with Cornershop Online, we’ll have our full range available to order over the internet. We’re very close to launching it, and we’re targeting an initial uplift of £5,000 from it.”</p><p>The inclusion of a Post Office Local counter has also encouraged extra footfall, while Khuram says he is looking to branch out further by launching his own takeaway food service.</p><p>He says: “We’ve got a space attached to the shop which I’m looking to convert to offer breakfast and lunch, and then traditional Indian food later in the day.”</p><p>Khuram has also endeared himself to the local community by supporting local charities through Nisa’s Making a Difference Locally scheme, including a £1,000 donation to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation. He says: “We’ll be raising another £1,000 soon, but this time we’ll let customers decide where the money should go.”</p><p>Looking to future, Khuram says he is in the process of adding another store to go with his Loco site and the other Nisa shop he helps run with his father and uncle.</p><p>“Being an independent retailer is hard work, but the appreciation you get from customers makes it all worthwhile.”</p><p> </p><h2>Visit my store</h2><p><iframe style=