As national holidays go, St Patrick’s Day is the one which has the widest appeal: there will be parties organised in every corner of the UK by people of Irish descent and those not. Priyanka Jethwa speaks to retailers and suppliers to find out how you can profit from the festivities

How can independents prepare in the run-up to St Patrick’s Day?

pilsner.jpgSt Patrick’s Day is a natural sales driver within retail, and it offers independents a great opportunity to boost sales among many categories, particularly Irish whiskey and stouts.

For convenience retailers, it’s important to make the most of the occasion by planning well in advance and stocking must-stock brands to ensure full availability, alongside investing in in-store theatre and decorations to emphasis the store as a destination.

Diageo, which owns Guinness, advises retailers to decorate their stores in a manner that drives shoppers towards impulse items. A Diageo spokesperson explains: “Use PoS to drive visibility and impulse purchases. If you are planning promotions in-store, display your discounted merchandise at the till area. While shoppers are queuing, it may encourage them to add to their baskets.”

Meanwhile, putting together a themed display will remind shoppers of the celebration and will allow customers to grab everything they need from one place. 

Retailers can boost their sales with in-store promotions and use this opportunity to create package deals for their customers. For example, promote deals for alcohol and snacks together to generate sales.


How retailers across the UK prepare for St Patrick’s Day

Anita Nye
Premier Eldred Drive Stores,
Orpington, Kent


Top Tip: Use decorations and PoS to guide shoppers to St Patrick’s Day deals around the store.

As a rule, every retailer should be stocking Guinness at the minimum to capitalise on sales, alongside an Irish whiskey, from a brand like Jameson. 

I think St Patrick’s Day is a good way to push cross-category sales, and if you are lucky to have the space for a dedicated display, take advantage and offer snacks, such as Pringles and other crisps, and alcohol together in a high-footfall location – this will help drive impulse sales. 

We used to have a dedicated display for St Patrick’s Day, but after having had to make room for a new chiller, we started to place products around the store. 

To make sure shoppers are aware that we are still celebrating St Patrick’s Day, we put decorations up, like little leprechaun balloons and themed bunting, to drive shoppers through the aisles toward the promotions.

Anish Parekh
Londis Broadoak and Post Office,
Greater Manchester


Top Tip: No matter how big or small the event may be in your area, offer promotions on alcohol

In the past, we have got our St Patrick’s Day PoS from Londis, such as hanging card displays and decorations. Londis normally does promotions across alcohol, such as a Guinness 10-pack for £8 or £9, which sells well. Within the alcohol category, we normally stack promotional boxes at the front to give it extra visibility. 

Whereas St Patrick’s Day isn’t extremely popular in our area, I still try and make the most out of it to make sure our shoppers know we are always ahead of trends and events. 

It also gives the impression to shoppers that, as a store, we are commercially and socially aware
of what is going on in the market, and therefore we are likely to stock new products. 

Our customers are made up of a mix of people, being based in a residential area. We have a few large businesses, so we stick to promotions on alcohol. 

See more of Anish's store

Terry Mulkerns
Mulkerns Eurospar,
Newry, Northern Ireland

Top Tip: Stock up on snacks for those shoppers popping in to buy food before heading to the parade

St Patrick’s Day is a funny day in Ireland for independent retailers, because it’s more of a holiday people spend at the pub, or in town to see the parade.

For us, it’s about making sure we have full availability of snacks and alcohol, for those stocking up before heading out to celebrate, or for those on their way home who are feeling a little peckish. 

As with the laws in Ireland, we have to keep our alcohol in a separate area, so in that section we try and get our hands on PoS from suppliers such as Diageo for Guinness, and try and offer as many promotions for 10-packs of beer. We also keep an Irish whiskey, such as Jameson, out, or even Baileys. 

Occasionally, we put green dye in the ice cream for a bit of fun, and that is always popular with shoppers, especially among the younger generation.