An initiative by Mars and Landmark Wholesale has helped retailers increase their confectionery sales. John Wood reports

Landmark Wholesale's Hot House project has helped well over 1,000 independent retailers to increase their overall sales by an average of 29%, by advising them on the best range and layout for their stores.
The advice has been developed in partnership with suppliers, and Mars has worked with other confectionery companies to agree the most appropriate confectionery planograms for stores taking part in the project.
However, on follow-up visits to the stores, Mars representatives found that some had not been able to maintain the planograms and were therefore missing out on the full Hot House benefits. This prompted Mars national account manager Trina Schofield to suggest that Mars and Landmark members could work together to help them.
With agreement from nine Landmark members in the Midlands, the North East and Scotland, she organised a 'blitz day' when business development managers from the cash & carries and Mars representatives visited 120 stores to offer them help and advice.
Schofield says: "The business development managers were able to explain to the retailers that we had identified an opportunity in their store and Mars was on hand to relay on their agreement at a time suitable to them."
Mars trade relations manager Bep Sandhu adds: "Doing it together made such a difference for the retailers, knowing that they had someone who was impartial on confectionery alongside an expert."
As a result 55 stores had their confectionery relaid in the following fortnight and their sales have grown strongly. Mars and Landmark are now planning a second wave of visits.

Peter Angelosanto Lifestyle Express, Edinburgh

"Three generations of my family have run the shop and confectionery sales are a very important part of our business. When my grandfather opened the shop he only sold ice cream and sweets and so it's important to us that confectionery remains at the heart of our store.
"The visit from the Mars associate and Hot House representative was extremely helpful. They gave me a number of tips on how I could boost my confectionery sales by paying attention to my range and how it is displayed. By sticking to the planogram our sales have increased by nearly 10%.
"The shop is situated in a residential area so we have a regular stream of customers on their way to work and school. We've positioned our main confectionery display opposite the till in the most prominent part of the shop.
"My customers expect to see the well known brands and these are all given prominent positions where they can be easily seen and reached. The pouches are also extremely popular with our customers and so we have secondary displays at the end of the aisles."

Hashim Farooq Throckley Mini Market, Newcastle

"I've been running my shop for over eight years and continue to believe that getting the confectionery display right is the most important thing in maintaining and growing sales.
"The Mars associate and the representative from Hot House were very supportive. They took time to talk me through the Hot House planogram. Since implementing the planogram we've seen our confectionery sales grow by 21% - we're delighted with the results!
"Our store is often busiest in the evening when commuters are returning home and customers often come into the shop to buy a pint of milk or some groceries, and they pick up a chocolate bar at the same time. My confectionery display is situated next to the till, which encourages impulse purchases, and the Hot House planogram ensures that the display is logical and ordered - making it easy for customers to locate what they want.
"Mars pouches are incredibly popular with families because they can share them and seal them for later, so we ensure that these are clearly visible on the display."