I’m getting rid of the island chiller by the store entrance, which currently holds sandwiches, pasties and soft drinks. The shelves are too narrow, which means I can’t get enough stock in them and they empty too quickly. But the main problem is that the island is made up of four chillers with integral motors, which produce a lot of heat and noise. I have to spend more on air-con to keep the store at the right temperature and the electricity bill is horrendous!
At the moment I’m paying twice as much in energy costs at this store than at my larger Leamington store, so getting new kit will make a big difference. I’m going to replace the island with two chillers from Delta, and I’ll have one compressor outside, which will be a big improvement.
I’m purchasing a new open chiller for fruit, which will be black for the wow factor, and a second white chiller with double doors, which will be positioned back to back with the black one by the store entrance. The white chiller will hold impulse items, such as sandwiches and pastries. The end panels of both will be clear glass, instead of metal, so that people can see the products as soon as they walk in. It’s all going to cost me £9,500.
The chillers will be installed on September 3, along with a Britvic chiller. I have asked for a chiller with doors, rather than an open one, to save on energy. The Britvic chiller was going to be installed earlier, but was delayed because Londis’ new merchandising team wants to attend.
On the whole, business is good. We’ve been doing well with Euromillions lottery ticket sales - the recent rollover really gave us a boost. It’s amazing what people will spend some buy £200-worth of tickets in one go. This is partly because Camelot is very good with advertising.
Although sales didn’t suffer initially when the local students went home for the holidays, they have now dropped slightly. But on the plus side, alcohol sales have increased a little on Saturdays, which I expect is because people have been staying in to watch the Olympics.
At the moment, suppliers are gearing up for the students’ return in September. Kepak is coming in next week and national accounts manager Ross Davison has something lined up for us. I think it might be a combined microwave and chiller.
Simon Digby, Heinz head of convenience & impulse, is also looking at what he can do in terms of impulse lines.