Convenience store retailers are attempting to counteract the slowdown in sales and footfall caused by the recent wet and wild weather conditions with an array of initiatives.
In Ascot, Berkshire, a new range of fresh fruit and veg is providing a point of difference for Londis retailer Roli Ranger. “We’re so grateful for any brief dry spells as business would definitely be suffering if not for them,” Roli explained. “However, once shoppers are in the store we are managing to up their basket spend with a new range of fresh fruit and vegetables from a local supplier who brings them in daily from Covent Garden market. The range provides us with a real point of difference, and people can’t help snapping it up, whatever the weather.”
“The weather is definitely having an impact on sales. People are just not out and about as much as usual, and my shops - which would normally get tourists at this time of year - are missing out.”
John Perrett, Honeyhill Stores, Isle of Wight
“This is a very touristic village so the wet weather does mean that we get far fewer visitors. However, we do get more locals in who can’t be bothered to drive to the larger stores in all the rain. Ice cream and soft drink sales have obviously fallen off a cliff, but local products such as cakes and biscuits are doing well as people stay at home with a warming cup of tea. We’re holding out for a sales surge next weekend once the schools break up and people, hopefully, come to the surrounding holiday parks.”
Jo Buist, Chilbolton Stores, Hampshire
In Liversedge, West Yorkshire, Londis retailer Barrie Seymour has stopped selling pricemarked packs (PMPs) in a bid to raise his bottom line. “Normally, you eat away at the profit in the winter that you make in the summer, but that won’t happen this year. You have to think about your pricing. If you sell PMPs you won’t have a business in the winter, as there’s no margin on them. “I also add 9% to the RRP of a pack of 20 cigarettes, and 12% for a pack of 10.”
A new range of umbrellas at Norfolk retailer Nigel Dowdney’s store was contributing to a 3% rise in his year-on-year sales, while in Seasalter, Kent, Paul and Nas Hudson were keeping business steady with an expanded range of local produce and a focus on customer service.
“The wet weather has certainly made trading much tougher, but we are still trading up on last year thanks to all the new developments we’ve recently made to the store, including the introduction of a much wider range of local goods. We’re just trying to be at the top of our game all the time to ensure that shoppers feel good about getting wet coming to see us,” Paul said.
Long-term weather forecasts predict the current wave of wet weather will continue until at least the end of the week.