Convenience store retailers from across the country have been rewarded with positive sales and goodwill after braving snow and ice to serve their local customers.
January’s wild weather has seen heavy snowfall blanket many parts of the country, with Wales, Scotland, Somerset, Scotland and parts of Sussex particularly hard hit.
Mike Skerrett, of Spar Dolwyddelan, north Wales battled the elements to deliver vital groceries to customers who were hamstrung by the snow and ice, even driving one couple home after conditions turned too hazardous to walk. He also utilised his role as a community councillor to help ensure local roads were gritted, with his sales in the week to January 20 up 8% year on year.
Sales at Peter Lamb’s convenience store in the rural village of Bells Yew Green, East Sussex, more than tripled as people panic bought bread, milk and soups.
The area bore the brunt of the winter weather with some parts seeing more than 5cm of snow falling in just a few hours.
“The big success however was our mobile shop service,” Peter told Convenience Store. “I had snow chains fitted to the van and we went out to all the local villages which were almost completely cut off by snow. We more than doubled our turnover there, and mobile sales have since stayed elevated,” he said.
Sophie Gallagher, operations manager of South Chard Stores in Somerset, had placed posters around the town encouraging people to phone in their orders. “The store owner, Les Gilbert, has a 4x4, so he delivered their shopping to them for free,” Sophie explained.
Meanwhile Nick Lloyd, managing director of Symonds Budgens, which has nine forecourt and convenience stores across the West Country, said sales were up more than 20%, driven by increased buying on milk, bread and essentials. “Our teams were also out dropping product off to older residents,” he said. In return, members of the community had helped store staff clear snow from their surrounds.
Fuel volumes, however, fell once the snow began to fall. They had peaked immediately before though, and were now rising again, driven by drier weather and the news that a jump in wholesale petrol costs could push prices up at the pumps.