Donna Morgan, of Brownlies of Biggar, in South Lanarkshire, Scotland, says this is a quiet time of year but she has been using this quieter preiod to source products that her shoppers want her to sell.

“I’m in the store, on the shop floor, all the time and I get lots of opprtunity to speak to customers and ask them if there’s anything else they want us to sell. I had one customer ask us if we could sell green tea with ginger. I’ve now started stocking this and I’ve tried it myself, it’s a very nice tea to drink in the morning to wake you up and get you going.

“Wherever we can bring in a product for someone that makes the difference between them having to go to another shop, or stay with us.

“We’ve just put out our Valentine’s Day display with big boxes of chocolates and prosecco and greetings cards. It’s something you have to get out on display aroudn the end of January but you aren’t going to sell much until Feb 13th as people tend to buy these things very last minute!

“Gins are another big category for us. We have continued to increase our range and we constantly review the range and bring in new flavours and take out slow sellers. The mist popular gins are the Edinburgh brands and we’ve got a lot of those.

“In order to boost basket sales further, we also sell all of the accompanying elements, so we sell lots of tonics and all the garnishes such as star anise, juniper berries and palmer violets. These additions make life easier for the customer, help them create a more interesting drink, and makes a bit more money.”

Successful NPD

“We decided to expand our Fever Tree tonic range to the full range of flavours and this way people treat us as a destination for their gin and tonic. As well as doing all the flavours, we do the standard and the big bottles. Fever Tree is seen as a premium option and there’s no point in people buying a premium gin and mixing it with cheap tonic.”

The Fever Tree range of tonics includes: elderflower, mediterranean, Indian, naturally light, and new aromatic. The new aromatic flavour (200ml or 500ml) offers gentle bitterness off angostura bark with aromatic botanicals such as cardamom, pimento berry and ginger. This sku has been created to enhance juniper-rich and robust gins.

What’s hot: Salads and fruit salad pots have been a focus in January

What’s not: A lot of people have been doing dry January so alcohol has been slow.