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It’s 100 days since my wife and I launched our extended store in Wheata Road, Sheffield. Memories of the day still delight us, but I know that was just the starting point as we create a successful business.
We have been very busy developing our range and adjusting the merchandising of each category. Our aim has been to get at least 60% of the store with a settled range. We are nearly there across our ambient categories. Once we have reached this goal my key focus will be on our Fresh and Food to Go offering as these are our big growth areas.
talking to customers and displaying products in-store is the real winning engagement. Having all our team involved in this process is the biggest gain since the re-launch.
My goal in these two categories is to build a range where maybe as much as two thirds will be stocked on an ongoing basis and the remainder will be either short term promotional product or seasonal. To this end I have been investigating new local suppliers to build in some uniqueness to our range.
Part of this process has been to visit other retailers and The Pantry in Barnsley has been the standout store for me. The first supplier we have added following our visit has been Canon Hall Farm for their butchery range, a local supplier providing us with very good quality local pre-packed meat.
To enhance our Food to Go offer we have added a hot food display on our counter to sell the Country Choice pie, sausage rolls etc. It’s going very well although I have become aware that selling cooked pies and sausage rolls does impact the number of chilled ones that we sell. I am trying to have the best of both ranges and am learning more about how to manage these products every day!
I have an action plan for the next three months and this of course includes making the most of Halloween and Christmas in our new space.
Continuing to empower every member of our store team allowing them to deliver brilliant customer engagement and service.
Improving signage to aid our customers’ journey around the store.
The 100 days since our re-launch has been quite a learning experience for me, and the 3 lessons most important for me are:
I know that social media works, but talking to customers and displaying products in-store is the real winning engagement. Having all our team involved in this process is the biggest gain since the re-launch.
Promotions are very important, but they are not the whole story. I have learnt that investing time in understanding what our customers want to buy from us and ensuring our range reflects this knowledge, is far more profitable than focusing too much on promos.
Looking to learn something new about our customers every day and using the vast Nisa range to match these needs is working well for sales.
Overall sales are developing nicely and we have reached our three month budget target. After the big expenditure during our development it is comforting to be back to having a positive cash flow again.
Our opening day was just the beginning; the last 100 days have been exciting and I am sure that this will continue for a long time to come as Mandeep and I along with our great team make the most of the opportunity we have created.