Ensure you have the right products on shelf during the right months and your sales could soar higher than Santa’s sleigh, explains Sarah Britton

Centuries ago, 12 days was the official length of Christmas. But, like St Nick’s belly, the season has grown over the years, and in retail terms we’re now looking at a four-month sales opportunity.

Of course, this is great for c-stores, which can stock all sorts of tasty delights for the festive season. But be warned: treating your customers like spoilt children and swamping them in Christmas goodies will only result in an ungrateful response and disappointing sales. The secret to a successful Christmas season is knowing which products to invest in, and the best time to start displaying them.

Novelty and sharing products are a much better bet than selection boxes, claims packaging design agency Anthem Worldwide. “The buying power of the supermarket chains makes it difficult for convenience stores to compete on price for selection boxes,” says managing director Jo Boyd. “Christmas novelties and sharing packs therefore offer much more potential to convenience stores as they are a better fit to their customers’ purchasing patterns.”

Ones to watch…

Sugar rush 
Chewits is entering the selection box arena with a special Christmas pack containing eight stickpacks. “Sugar confectionery does extremely well during special events and so there is a good growth opportunity at Christmas,” says Leaf Confectionery trade marketing manager Joanne Carr.
rrp: £2.49
tel: 01452 378 500

A touch of luxury 
For 2011, Mars is adding the Galaxy Luxury Collection to its selection box range. The indulgent offering comprises seven products including Minstrels and Ripple and Bubbles bars. Mars has also been making changes to its Maltesers & Friends selection box, which is to contain M&M’s packs for the first time this Christmas.
rrp: £3.56
tel: 01844 262517 

That’s cute 
Cadbury Character bags are filled with a variety of treatsize products, and packs are inspired by new characters Snowman, Santa and Rudy the Reindeer. The company is also launching GB and Ireland 2012 Olympics selection packs, rrp £5, which feature top-selling countlines.
rrp: £2.99
tel: 08702 400 861 

Swiss made 
Swiss confectioner Barens is introducing its new Amador range this winter. Available in three flavours mint, hazelnut and orange the individually wrapped products come in 125g bags. The premium chocolates are suitable for gifting, sharing and after-dinner occasions, claims national sales manager David Williams.
rrp: £1.99
tel: 07808 645 878 

In peak condition 
This year sees the launch of a new Toblerone variant. The triangular chocolate will be topped with white chocolate, celebrating the brand’s Swiss heritage by symbolising the snow-capped Alps. “This brings another great option for people who can’t decide between milk and white,” says senior brand manager Kate Knight.
rrp: £1.22
Tel: 08702 400 861 

Read More:
Cash in: Christmas Confectionary - Novelty value
Cash in: Christmas Confectionary - Gifting and sharing
Cash in: Christmas Confectionary - Roll with it