In his third column, Sohail Saleem looks at symbol groups and starts to ready his store for winter sales

It’s amazing how symbols vary across a small board. In Scotland, Spar doesn’t have much of a presence. I’ve noticed Nisa getting more popular and One Stop seem to be thriving – they seem to be opening up all of the time and have broken into Scotland with their first franchise store.

Day-Today is still the most popular fascia in Scotland, but the growth of other symbols is good. It shows that the market is moving forward, becoming more professional and it’s becoming a fairer balance against the multiples.

The EU courts rejecting minimum alcohol pricing also caught my eye. I’m intrigued to see how it will unfold. On one hand I’m pro-minimum pricing because it will give us more of a level playing field with multiples but, let’s face it, it’s just going to raise the price and people will still try their hardest to get it.

We’re getting our alcohol promotions ready for the winter. We’re preparing now, because the nights will get colder and shoppers will just want to get home – so they need to know we have a reputation for good deals and promotions before that happens.
Wines and beers will be pushed with strong PoS and limited-time promotions. Our customers know that we have a good range, but now it’s time to give it 100% and really focus on increasing sales.