Convenience stores across the country are celebrating a generally good start to 2016 thanks to solid sales over the Christmas period.
Donna Morgan of Brownlies in Biggar near Edinburgh said sales over the Christmas period were up on last year while the store took £2,000 in just four hours on Christmas day. “For a small store Christmas day sales were really amazing and it was well worth opening,” Donna said. “Sales were mainly made up of last minute distress purchases of key items like milk, butter and foil, but we also sold lots of Champagne on Christmas day, with quite a few bottles bought to celebrate couples getting engaged.”
Sales at Saqib Ghafoor’s Bargain Booze Select Convenience in Ashington,Northumberland, were also up 10% over the Christmas period, with peaks on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. “There has been a behavioural shift in customers over the last few years, and instead of getting busier throughout the Christmas week, people seem to leave it to the last minute and we get really busy on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve,” he said.
“The most popular items were last minute confectionery purchases, alcohol and Christmas cards. Customers were so thankful that we were still open and they could buy last minute cards to ensure that people weren’t accidentally left of Christmas card lists! On New Year’s Eve, high-end wine and Champagne were big sellers along with spirits,” Saqib added.
On the Isle of Sheppey sales were up 15% year on year at Jatinder Sahota’s Londis store, with alcohol driving the uplift. “We close Christmas day and have done for 26 years, but the rush that we get on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve more than makes up for it,” Jatinder said.
Colin Smith, managing director of Nisa Pinkies Farm in Musselburgh, Scotland, said sales over the Christmas period were also up 7% on last year, despite the store being closed on Christmas Day. “We had a fantastic offer and mix of promotions in place for customers this year and it also helped that lots of new houses have also been built near to the store in the last 12 months so footfall is also up,” he said.
However, Costcutter retailer Chaz Chahal said sales in his Bromsgrove store were down slightly on last year over the Christmas period as he didn’t run as many promotions. He did, however, make a bigger margin.
The store opened from 10am until 2pm on Christmas day. “Sales on 25 December were also a little lower than last year due to increased competition in the local area,” Chaz said. “We now have a large 24-hour forecourt just down the road which has a great convenience store attached, and lots of other stores in the area were also open.”
Belvedere Food and Wine owner, Amit Patel also attributed slower sales to increased competition: “Usually we have a strong Christmas, with sales of alcohol and spirits our biggest sellers but because of supermarkets and discounters offering such cheap deals on alcohol, particularly on 1L bottles of spirits, overall sales were down 5% compared to last year.
“We tried to counteract the loss with special offers and I also provided a free delivery to customers who spent a certain amount which helped to cushion it.”
Amit plans to revamp the store’s social media accounts in a bid to re-energise footfall in the new year.