Harry Goraya, owner of Rosherville Post Office (Nisa Local) in Gravesend, Kent, says the cold weather in his area is working to his advantage and helping him boost sales in time for Valentine’s Day.

He says: “We’ve had a few snow flurries where we are. Nothing too heavy but enough to make people buy some of the essentials, like bread, milk and eggs, if they haven’t already prepared.

“Overall, sales have been good throughout the winter and we weren’t hit too badly in January. We started selling gifts for Valentine’s Day really early this year which has helped sales in our party section.

“The area is about five to six metres big and because it has been so successful we are planning to expand it over the next few months, as part of a move around in the shop.

“Our collection of soft toy Valentine’s bears have been particularly good, because they feature neutral messaging like ‘I Love You’. We noticed that quite a few customers have been buying them to give to their mothers on Mother’s Day or for another occasion.

“We’ve also been running sampling and taster events for our food to go products, to get customers to try some of our new range. We’re conscious that quite a few people are still on diets or trying to be healthy so we haven’t pushed the pastries too much and instead focused on offers with a cup of coffee.”

Successful NPD

“The new Chicago Town pizza concept has done well for us, after we were among the first to trial the products. The pepperoni one is selling best and I’m hoping Dr Oetker will add more flavours soon.”

After an 18 month trial, Dr Oetker is rolling out its Chicago Town Pizza to Go concept to all c-stores to help retailers tap into the grab and go market.

The company’s new Pizza to Go cabinets allow convenience stores and forecourts to prepare and sell 12 inch stuffed crust Chicago Town pizzas for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Offering stores a 50% margin, those who buy a cabinet (£550 + VAT) now will be reimbursed in free stock. Chicago Town will also provide stores with free installation, free staff training and free POS.

Available in two flavours: loaded cheese; and loaded pepperoni, the products can be sold in quarter, half, and whole pizza servings (rrp £7 per pizza, sold in cases of eight).

What’s Hot: Most categories seem to be selling well, with sales of healthy lines in line with last year’s figures

What’s Not: Alcohol sales are down after the Christmas peak and following Dry January