Scott Graham: CRA winner

Building blocks

Posted by: Scott Graham Fri, 10 Feb 2017

Recent news just goes to show what an ever-changing industry we work in. The past year in our business has been challenging and rewarding at the same time, and I find these first few months a great time to take stock of how the business has performed, what changes we have made and whether they worked.

This year I believe we will have to continue to focus on chilled and fresh products. Customer demand for food to go will continue to grow and the ever-changing face of digital engagement with customers will need to be at the forefront of our minds.

Healthy is fast becoming a shopper’s preferred option, so are we stocking the right ranges or mix of products to meet this? And are we set up to meet the ever changing shopper behaviours?

We will of course have the usual legislation to deal with, much of which means we will have to review costs and retail pricing and look at how we can further adapt our in-store operations to run smarter. Do we have the right people in the right place at the right time and does that person have the right skill set to do the job we are asking of them?

Support from our symbol partners and closer working relationships with suppliers will be key to driving growth. This past year has seen us work directly with some key suppliers and the results in terms of sales increase have been fantastic.

Our industry is quite unique in that we will happily share good practice and procedures. Spending time with these people is important to discuss what is going well and not so well, and attending organised trade events will help us continue to thrive in this exciting market place.

Winning success

Posted by: Scott Graham Thu, 6 Oct 2016

Innovation has always been high priority for us, but since winning the top prize at this year’s Convenience Retail Awards things have definitely accelerated.

There’s no doubt that the win has raised awareness of the McLeish store brand among shoppers, but also suppliers. As a result we’ve added quite a few new products and ranges.

One key development has been the addition of a new two-metre bakery unit at the front of the store. With the help of a well-respected local baker we now offer a wide range of pre-packed baked goods along with loose items and speciality cupcakes, which look, smell and taste fantastic and work really well as part of a meal deal with our self-serve coffee offer. The concept makes us an additional £1,500 a week – and that’s despite competition from another bakery just a few doors away.

We’ve also invested in two ice cream and slush machines, which despite a wet summer still brought in hundreds of pounds and even now are generating £250 a week.

Continuing our work with local suppliers, we’ve also introduced a new fresh meat range from a local butcher.

Looking ahead, our next big project is digital. I was surprised to read in this year’s ACS Local Shop Report that only 24% of stores have a website and only 22% are on Facebook. It made me realise just how much of a point of difference both elements could give us. I’ve taken on a new employee whose primary role (at least 20 hours a week) will be to focus on developing this area. I also plan to install digital media screens, and possibly Big DL beacons.

There’s certainly no standing still in this game.

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