Soft drinks

1Tariq Chishti, Netherlee Post & News, Glasgow

“Things like padded envelopes and stationery bring in 100% margins, which is fantastic, but it only works because we’ve got a post office in our store. We’ve built up a high-margin range that works with the post office.

“We’ve got a lot of newspapers and magazines. We’ve also got an extensive card range that caters to every occasion – Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Easter, St Patrick’s Day and confirmations. We focus on what’s selling and what’s not selling when it comes to magazines.

“We sell magazines that do monthly issues and make sure that people know we have them. They’re not titles you’d be aware of unless you were really interested in them.

“While the turnover might not be as big, we’ve got lots of high-margin products, which enables us to punch above our weight for such a small store.”

2Dan Brown, Lothian Stores, Musselburgh, Mid Lothian

“We try to focus on food to go – quality stuff we make in our kitchen like ready meals and things for the hot counters. We can sell them for a decent price and still get a good margin. We look at wastage as well. We use the Too Good to Go app and Gander to help us to sell products we’re reducing, and we can also use those products in our kitchen.

“A good way to ensure you’re pushing quality products with high margins is to do things that give your store a better perception towards your customers. That way, they are more willing to pay more. You have to focus on the standards in the store, particularly when you’re selling food to go. If it’s not immaculately clean or organised, people won’t want to buy from you. We have to think like we’re a restaurant now. You have to look at it from the customer’s point of view. If the store isn’t immaculate you’re going to question the quality of the produce.”

3Gaurave Sood, Neelam Post Office & Convenience, Uxbridge

“We’re aiming at 30-40% margins these days whereas before it was just 20%. We’re doing that just to cover the basic costs because they’re all going up. So we’re looking for anything that’s offering a higher margin. That’s meant we’ve enhanced our stationery and introduced mobile accessories and disposable vapes. We’re investing space and stock into those things. Ultimately, we’re increasing selling prices around the shop.

“It used to be alright to sell high volumes, but now I’ve got to find an extra £5,000 for the electrics alone. When it comes to products with a shelf life you’ve got to be even more careful. Any losses in the chilled section hurt more. But looking after wastage is something that everyone should be doing right now. Look at other wholesalers as well, don’t be loyal to just one. There are promotions and deals available and the wholesalers are trying as hard as they can. We see that and appreciate it.”

Explore our comprehensive archive of advice and insight for independent retailers