Harris Aslam runs a chain of independent convenience stores in Scotland. In his first column for Retail Express, he tells us his thoughts on Booker’s merger with Tesco.
It’s a privilege to get the opportunity to share insight and ideas with convenience retailers at such a pivotal point in our industry.
We’re seeing mass change like never before. We’ve been expecting consolidation for the past couple of years since Palmer & Harvey joined forces with Costcutter, but Tesco and Booker was completely unexpected.
It will be interesting to see how Tesco treats Booker’s customers, given that they will be direct competitors.
We have four stores around Fife and Clackmannanshire, with number five due to open in the next week or so. We don’t trade a lot with Booker, but what this deal stresses for us is that running a successful store cannot be about price, but instead what sets you apart from the competition.
Store number five in Tillicoultry will have an in-store butchers, bakery and cafe. We’ve got a bit more space than average, but on a smaller scale you can add in other services such as parcel delivery.
We signed up Hermes Parcelshop in one store and initially only processed three or four parcels a week, but we persisted and now we’re making more than £100 a week by spending a minute or so taking a parcel.
We’ve also recently installed ATMs in all the stores, trying to maximise every square foot of space we have.
There are simple things you can do to make the most of the space you have. What are you doing to bring people in?