As the sun continues to shine, sales of soft drinks and ice cream have gone through the roof. It’s not easy to manage, though, as we only have a small stock room.

Londis has been really good with deliveries and availability. I have three deliveries a week, but I could really do with an extra one on Saturday. Londis is looking into the logistics, but for now I have to play smart and order what I can.

We’re making the most of the hot weather while we have it. I’ve started stocking Parrot Bay’s frozen cocktail pouches.  Initially, staff wanted to display them in the freezer so that they were ready to drink, but I didn’t want to risk kids picking them up. Instead, we decided to display them on clip strips in the alcohol area. The clip strips were provided by Parrot Bay, too, so are branded and stand out, and they’re doing really well so far. 

As well as weather-influenced products, I’ve also seen really strong sales of other new products. NJOY has put its electronic cigarettes units into both our Leamington and Headington stores. E-Lites have been going well, but NJOY has a rotating cylinder POS unit, which is attractive and has visible pricing, which customers like. They sold out in Headington in just a few days. The standard and menthol varieties have been flying. I think we might have a few Americans in the area who recognise the brand as they are the best-seller in the USA. We’re making a good 30% mark-up, which is great.

Britvic’s AMP energy drink has been another winner. It is pricemarked at 99p for 500ml, which is good value when you compare it to a Red Bull, which costs £1.79 for a 250ml can. It also has great imagery on the can and my staff have created a really strong display at the front of the store. I’m in talks with Britvic at the moment about running a promotion on it when the students start back next month. I’d advise all retailers to get talking to suppliers as some of them will bend over backwards to help.

My staff are currently refreshing their training with an e-learning programme that they can do at home at their leisure. It covers all areas from food safety and age verification, to first aid and manual handling. It’s a fun site with crosswords and quizzes to keep staff interested. Plus, if they don’t get full marks first time round, they can keep going until they have passed.