The Federation of Wholesale Distributors (FWD) is planning a further boost to its Blueprint operation by trialling a guide to merchandising chilled alcohol.
The trade body is currently seeking a refrigeration supplier willing to partner the trials on beer, cider, wine and RTDs in 1.5-2 metre dairy decks.
According to Graham Shelley, managing director of IMA, which implements the Blueprint scheme, dairy decks are the main point of difference between c-stores and supermarkets. He said: "People are so pleased to pick up the drink for immediate consumption that retailers don't have to play the prices so hard."
He added that retailers who invested in dairy deck chillers - a basic unit costs about £3,500 - should see a return on investment in the first year.
The FWD has recently refreshed its Blueprint 'cluster' programme whereby wholesalers nominate a group of retailers for free in-store makeovers. The scheme will be promoted by manned stands at wholesalers nationwide.
"It's a way of re-energising Blueprint," said scheme director Ross Shelley. "It has grown so much since it launched in 1994. At that time we got 336 requests for merchandising advice; last year we got 2,352."
The FWD's Putting Leaders On Display trial on spirits is also being rolled out to another 10 stores. Blueprint chairman Alan Toft predicted that enough independents would adopt the scheme when it goes national that it would positively affect the spirits category market share.
Another FWD initiative is a scheme to encourage in-store wine tastings. About 200 kits containing corkscrews, glasses and posters have been issued.