Harj Dhasee, one of our expert retailer columnists, focuses on how he’ll be growing sales and hitting this and next year’s targets.

On February 16 for two weeks my shop is having a revamp as we switch it over to Nisa’s ‘Store of the Future 2’ format, aiming at growing sales. We’re changing the colours of the store, the signage and introducing in-store graphics that will mean customers will be able to see what the store used to look like in the 1900s when it first opened.

Because we’re a village store we’re going to put in old photos of Mickleton, including how the high street used to look and how the village has progressed over the years.

The graphics will make the store more local and really embed it in the community.

We’ve had the current format for four years, so we thought it was time to give the store a refresh. We’re also reducing our ambient lines and bringing in more of a fresh theme. We will be increasing our space on chilled and freshly baked bread. We’re going from half a bay of fruit and veg to two bays, while also increasing our cheese selection.

We’ll have wicker baskets in the fridge to give it more of an old grocery feel. We’re taking out our deli because of the amount of square footage it takes up and the cost of running it. Instead, we’re going to pre-pack the deli lines, so people will still be able to buy it.

I’m hoping to get a 10% uplift from the revamp, which we are funding through our Nisa development fund. We’re a fully-fledged Nisa store as we buy 95% of our goods from them, so a percentage of our spend goes into a separate pot, which can only be used for store improvement.

Retailers need to revamp their store every three or four years. It keeps the store fresh and keeps you in touch with consumer trends. Consumer habits have changed a lot in the past four years with more people shopping locally more often, so fresh is a key area. We’re currently doing 27% on our fresh intake and our target next year is to hit 35% in fresh sales.   

Over the year you become really heavy with promotions and new products being released, so this gives us a chance to give the whole store an overhaul. Since October we’ve been reducing lines and clearing through dead stock. We have a look every August at what changes we are going to make the following year.

You have to plan ahead if you want to grow – and you have to work out how you’re going to make more of your customers.

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