Retailers searching for a boost in tough economic times should look no further than their alcohol section, says the team behind the Federation of Wholesale Distributor's Take Home Blueprint.

The latest Blueprint booklet, distributed to licensed independent stores with this issue, gives independent advice on wine ranging, merchandising and responsible retailing, and includes planograms for one-, two- and three-metre displays.

Scheme director Ross Shelley said: "With more people choosing to stay in, shopping locally and avoiding expensive meals out, the community independent can reap rewards by offering a strong, up-to-date alcohol section by using the wine range and layout advice."

Shelley also recommended holding in-store tastings as a way to get customers to "break the mould and experiment with new brands, blends or varietals".

Dan Cock of Whitstone Stores in Devon used Blueprint to revamp his alcohol section and sold 45 cases of wine in one evening when he hosted a wine tasting event to unveil the improved display.

"The evening was a huge success, and has helped us develop a strong regular trade," he said. "We had a fantastic time, and it has helped us create customer loyalty."

By taking into account local choice, Dan has seen his wine sales increase by 20%, he said.

"I am now extending my shop so that we can increase space for my off licence section," Dan added. "We have taken on board the need to group products logically, position key lines, offer a good choice of chilled stock and keep the shelves looking as full and as well presented as possible. Making this extra effort has certainly paid off for us."

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