Analysis

Boxed chocolates is an incredibly competitive category at this time of year. Large tubs are not the battle to take on, with multiples stocking different sized formats to independents that give greater value per kilogram, so if you can’t price competitively on these, you’ll have to rely on distress purchases.

There are areas in which price is less clear, however, and the table shows that the 200g options – Lindt Lindor and Maltesers Truffles – are much more competitive. This mid-sized premium end is where indies should be concentrating. 

These lines also have the bonus of not being in Christmas-themed packaging, so will retain their relevance into spring. Scout out your competition and talk to customers to find where the gaps are. 

Remember, Christmas is also a time when shoppers are looking for unique gifts, so perhaps it’s time to offer premium unbranded lines to stand out. 

Profit checker

Price checker

ProductAverage priceBooker RRPSMALL HIGH STREET SHOP IN WORCESTERSHIRE VILLAGENORWICH CITY CENTRE C-STORENEIGHBOURHOOD STORE IN RESIDENTIAL AREA OF SMALL NORTH SCOTLAND TOWNVERY LARGE C-STORE IN EAST MIDLANDS SUBURBAN SHOPPING PRECINCTC-STORE NEXT TO FORECOURT ON APPROACH TO DEVON COASTAL RESORTSMALL HIGH STREET SHOP IN SOUTH WALES VILLAGE
MALTESERS SMALL BOX 100G£1.73£1.90£1.90£1.90£2.39£1.90£1.93£1.90
TERRYS CHOCOLATE ORANGE BALL 157G£3.18£3.49£3.49£3.49£3.49£3.49£3.52£3.49
QUALITY STREET MATCHMAKERS COOL MINT 120G£2.02£2.29£2.29£2.29£2.29£2.29£2.32£2.29
NESTLE AFTER EIGHT MINTS 300G£3.64£4.00£4.10£4.00£4.00£4.00£4.03£3.51
QUALITY STREET MATCHMAKERS ZINGY ORANGE 120G£2.04£2.29£2.29£2.29£2.29£2.29£2.32£2.29
CELEBRATIONS TUB 650G£6.66£6.00£6.00£6.00£6.00£6.00£5.50
QUALITY STREET MATCHMAKERS SALTED CARAMEL 120G£2.04£2.29£2.29£2.29£2.29£2.29£2.32£2.29
NESTLE QUALITY STREET 12 SWEET MIX TUB 720G£7.66£8.49£8.49£8.49£8.49£8.49£8.52£5.50
MALTESERS TRUFFLES MEDIUM GIFT BOX 200G£4.93£4.99£4.99£4.99£4.99£4.99
LINDT LINDOR MILK CHOCOLATE CARTON 200G£5.11£5.49£4.99£5.49£5.49£3.99£4.10
CELEBRATIONS 380G£4.64£4.79£4.99£4.99£4.79£4.79£4.75
CADBURY SMALL SELECTION BOX 95G£1.46£1.49£1.49£1.49£1.49£1.52£1.00
Data supplied by

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Supermarkets

Drive your profits

Jason Birks

Moscis Convenience Store Location: Peterlee, County Durham
Size: 800sq ft
Type: residential

Top Tip: Get stocked up for Christmas now – the season starts early

We are part of a symbol group – Premier – so most of our stock in the run-up to Christmas is on promotion. We have Celebrations down from £4.79 to £2.99, Lindt down to £3.99 and Ferrero Rocher is reduced, as are bags of Quality Street. We’ve sold a lot already, but there will be a lot of emergency purchases over Christmas – people come in and will buy a box of chocolates and a bottle of wine. Margin is important, but if we didn’t promote these products, with the prices that the supermarkets run, then we just wouldn’t be able to compete.

Daphne Eddington

The Village Shop
Location: Braithwaite, Cumbria
Size: 500sq ft
Type: village

Top Tip: Check your wholesaler is offering the most competitive prices

We’ve been open since 2003 and boxed chocolates is an area we’ve really struggled with. We get a lot of tourist trade and they don’t tend to buy chocolates, while locals go to the supermarkets. At Christmas, we sell just about enough. We stock the main lines – Dairy Box, Milk Tray at £5, for example, from which I make a 30% margin. The problem is you can buy it cheaper from supermarkets than you can from our wholesaler. Cumbria doesn’t have many depots, but that’s starting to change with a few independent confectionery wholesalers arriving.

Steve Haines

The Broads
Location: Coltishall, Norwich
Size: 900sq ft
Type: village

Top Tip: Keep stocked up – someone always needs something for last-minute distress purchases

There are some products that we will buy throughout the year – Milk Tray, Heroes, Celebrations and Lindor – but when it comes to Christmas, we get a bigger range together. At this time of year, I specifically look for products that won’t immediately become obsolete on 26 December. I aim for a 25% to 30% margin, but it’s difficult if you want to remain competitive. The prices change so much over the course of the year. For example, we’re currently stocking a 600g Dairy Milk box, which we usually sell for about £7 to £8, for £4.

Mehmet Guzel

Simply Fresh
Location: Bethnal Green, London
Size: 1,700sq ft
Type: city centre

Top Tip: Look for luxury products where you can get above a 20% margin

For the past four years, I’ve refused to stock the Celebrations and Quality Street tubs that come out every year. We can’t get them for any cheaper than £5 from our wholesalers, but the supermarkets will have them for two-for-£7. I know so many retailers who get them from their local supermarket just to make the extra margin. Instead, for gift products, I focus on luxury items such as biscuits and panettone. I try to get a 15% to 20% margin with confectionery, but with panettone I can buy them in for £6 and sell them for £12.

Find out more about RN’s definitive guide to the best-selling products that you need to have on your shelves.