As retailers become more ambitious, offering food-to-go, fresh, chilled and more, they're increasingly looking for support from their symbol and fascia partners. In the third part of this sepcial, we talk to retailers and their symbol group representatives to see how they make the best of their partnerships
My Londis story
Alan Spackman, Londis Waylands Garage, Watton, Norfolk
We bought the store because of its location – there isn’t another forecourt in the area. The customer base mainly consists of drivers passing through, and we saw this as a huge opportunity to create a modern convenience store to accompany the forecourt business. With guidance from Londis we created a store with a great fresh offer, protein and free-from ranges and began to stock craft ales and premium alcohol too. We especially wanted to focus on food to go and did this under the brand Stone Willy’s, which allows us to have a full offer to customers throughout the day.
Store renovations – including a major extension – started in September last year at a cost of £900,000, but by working efficiently with Londis and our builders we were able to reopen the shop just after Christmas. The refurbishment involved doubling the store size to 1,700sq ft, with our food to go section making up half of the store.
Londis helped a lot on store layout and challenges such as wastage. They showed we could reduce the latter by examining our EPoS data and seeing which of our lines were the slowest, which we would avoid in future. This has all contributed to weekly sales of £2,500.
Martin Swadling, brand director, Londis
From the start of the extension, the team at Londis and Alan worked together to ensure this forecourt convenience store would maximise both sales and profits. We focused on ensuring Alan offered the most up to date range including protein, free from, craft beers and premium alcohol to drive footfall.
My Nisa story
Siva Thievanayagan, Nisa Peterborough, Peterborough
I’ve been operating on this site for 16 years but realised that the market had changed and it was food to go that was now bringing people into the store. Before we made the changes to the store, it was a lot smaller and we had only 10 staff. I bought the post office next door and made it into one unit, put a big deli counter in the back.
We now have £6,000 sales of bakery each week while we recently began experimenting by offering dinners to people on their way home. People want to know that there’s good food near them – at the right time. My sales overall have gone up by 60% and Nisa have been great – helping me tweak my shop layout to ensure I have the right range of grocery products in the right place.
The Nisa brand is good and people know about it – they know that it will have competitive prices as well. I have adopted a similar strategy with my sandwiches which I sell for just £2.60. I make a 50% margin so why charge more? Nisa’s own brand is the best of the symbol groups’ too.
A spokesperson, Nisa
We work hard to make our members lives easier. We have recently launched an app which allows retailers to check products, promotional offers, place orders and check deliveries on the move. For retailers like Siva who are fans of our own label there’s also our award-winning wines, our two for £5 chilled ready meals and lots more Heritage products on offer.
My Best-one story
Kay Patel, Best-one Wanstead, London
We’ve put together and tried out some planograms on shelf before Best-one have rolled them out nationally. It’s helped both us and them. Symbol groups can’t really mock up a planogram and test it in head office or in a depot.
The most off-putting thing about a planogram is that if you implement it you’re stripping and cleaning your shelves, but then if you find that it doesn’t fit, it is really annoying and makes you lose faith. Our store’s role started when my rep asked me to have a look at a new home-baking planogram. Their buyers sit down with suppliers and they thrash out a planogram. It shows the must-stocks and the bestsellers.
I tried it and it turned out that a few of the suggested products weren’t stocked in the depots that served me. That made them realise that some of the products were area-specific so they rejigged the planograms, while some of the depots that didn’t stock things said they would.
Most recently, we looked at our pets range and realised we weren’t stocking enough luxury pet food such as Sheba. Focusing on it helped raise our sales by 10% to 15%.
Tony Holmes, Sales director, Bestway Wholesale
Xtra Local branding offers consistency with signage throughout a store. Our team of representatives will offer merchandising advice to ensure that stores are stocking the right core range of grocery products. Meanwhile Xtra Local promotional leaflets help tell customers about our high-impact promotions. Overall, Xtra Local works with retailers to offer a clean, uncluttered store for customers and offers support on everything from fresh produce and time-of-day meal deals to bestselling beers, wines and spirits.
My Budgens story
Guy Warner, Warner's Budgens, Moreton-on-Marsh
When we heard that Aldi were due to open a store nearby, we continued to develop a ‘reasons to visit’ strategy which had already been our strategy for a number of years, with the help of Budgens.
As part of this, we relocated the town Post Office to the store, added a coffee shop which we run under a franchise agreement from Soho Coffee Co and last July launched our in-store butchery.
One of our biggest successes has been the Cook frozen food concession, which we introduced with the support of the Budgens team. Then we also ran a coupon campaign, with 14,000 local homes receiving money off vouchers encouraging them to visit the store; this campaign ran monthly for a period of five months.
By using the Budgens key promotional lines, we able to shout about the great value available in store to drive footfall as well as our sales. We also had the support of the whole Budgens team to bounce ideas off and to help us with communicating our “reasons to visit” strategy to the local community. Alongside this we highlighted our points of difference – independent ownership, supporter of local producers and being a supporter of the local community.
Mike Baker, Brand Director, Budgens
Budgens works in partnership with our retail entrepreneurs so they have more freedom to source products from specialist and local suppliers, allowing stores to build unique ranges of craft beers, breads, cheeses and meats. When Guy and his team faced a challenge we turned this into an opportunity with some fantastic results.
Click here to read the first part of this special report