Paul Sohal, who owns eight stores in Derbyshire including a Nisa Local in Crich, is this week’s specialist in RN’s guide to selling batteries and essentials at Christmas. Here’s his advice on planning ahead and growing sales for the festive season.

With margins of ovWEB_Local_Crich_Paul_Sohal2er 100%, the sale of essential Christmas products – from batteries to wrapping paper – in the days running up to Christmas is one of Paul Sohal’s most profitable opportunities of the year. Alongside basic Christmas essentials that he orders through Nisa’s pre-sell catalogue, including tin foil, wrapping paper and gift bags, Paul’s sets himself apart from the competition with a wide range of winter clothing accessories.
From his store customers are able to buy hats, scarves, gloves and even stockings – items he’s able to get on a sale or return basis. “It helps that I have an excellent relationship with manufacturer and wholesaler Dekran Hosiery, which have dealt with me and my family for 30 years,” he says.
Another benefit of this strong relationship is that the company visits his store regularly, allowing him totop up on quick-selling products. “The success of this category has given me the confidence to experiment, and for example we are running promotions on batteries for the first time this winter, which so far has proved popular,” says Paul.

1. Don’t let your Christmas card range go stale

For years we just bought multipacks that we sold for £1 – £2.99. Although they were popular, it was easy to forget about this category and then get left over with a lot of stock, so this year we’re working with Card Connexions to help us merchandise and monitor our range.

2. Promote your batteries

For the first time we are promoting our AA and AAA batteries, and so far they’re selling really well. Although we don’t need to promote them at Christmas, it helps catch customer’s attention when they’re paying at the till and buy them on impulse.

3. Make space for gloves and hats

We stock winter clothes including hats, gloves, thick tights and stockings for both children and adults. This is a great distress purchase and earn well over 100% margins on them.