My store is only 650 square feet and the key criterion that drives the range of products that I offer is not to over stock the store which is why effective category management is key. That is to say I demand that the aisles stay clear in all parts of the store. With a small store I can’t afford the wide spaces that supermarkets do, but I can ensure that my customers find it as easy as possible to get around.

Category-Management-Jai-SinghI have laid out the store to give 1 metre between the fixtures, so no room to squeeze extra floor stands in. This means that I have to manage promotions and new lines with in my promotional bay or the space I provide for the relevant category. New lines are a valuable part of what we offer. They help refresh my range either for a short period particularly if they are being advertised or some time they can permanent addition to the range.

Having a category management strategy enables me to add these lines without overcrowding the shelves. Sound information is the foundation for this: sound sales data captured through my EPoS tills, reliable industry based planograms from manufactures like P&G  and my main supplier Booker. The trade press and the internet are also valuable sources of product and category information.

To keep each category fresh and relevant I look at the sales and profit data on a 3 to 5 month cycle and then make changes that are needed either driven by changing sales patterns or seasonality. My category management process enabled me to manage the substantial changes that the arrival of a big 24 hour Asda forced on us.

My CM process makes me challenge each area of my store. When I noticed that the sales of beer by the case that I displayed in floor stacks were falling off I stopped offering beer in that way. We now use the space to display new lines in bulk and get into hot pies and pasties which are providing a much better return on the space.

Following Bookers recent development of their own label pet food range I am currently focusing of that area of my store. I will report on this next time.