Convenience retailers across the country are gearing up for a summer of community events and sales opportunities.

The period, which starts with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee weekend on June 2 and ends with the close of the Paralympic games on September 9, would present a huge opportunity for independents to both bond with their communities and make money, a panel of leading retailers said at a Mars conference in London last week.

Costcutter Coventry retailer Paul Cheema is working with suppliers to plan a community barbecue over the Jubilee weekend, while in Redhill, Surrey, independent retailer Dean Holborn is organising a tea party, band and parade.

Vrinder Singh, whose family owns three Premier stores in Sheffield, is planning to decorate the stores and run a charity football tournament to celebrate the summer’s sporting events. “For us, it’s not all about more sales, it’s about customers having a good experience,” he said. “If they see all the flags in-store, they’ll remember it for a long time and they’ll keep coming back.”

Nisa retailer Rav Garcha agreed that when running events, creating atmosphere should be the main focus for retailers, rather than driving sales. “The day itself gives you lower sales, but you get long-term good will,” he said.

However, there would undoubtedly be sales opportunities in the lead up to key events, claimed the panel. “Strong promotions, and pricemarked packs will be key to driving sales,” Dean added.

“Trading up packs and siting complementary products together is important,” added Paul.

Rav also warned retailers not to leave it too late to stock up on British-branded products.