Mos Patel, owner of Family Shopper Ashton-under-Lyne, in Tameside, Greater Manchester, says his chocolate sales have been very strong with people stocking up for seasonal events.

He says: “Our store tends to do well with all the regular lines like chocolates, sweets and drinks. People often stock up last minute with us, so demand for Valentine’s Day boxes of chocolate and themed cushions is always concentrated around the week before the 14th.

“It’s a little different with Easter this year, however, because we’ve started the promotions early so that is helping sales of chocolate too. We tend to do well out of all of the seasonal events.

“The demand for these occasions is also making up for the drop in demand for alcohol and frozen foods, which is something that we have noticed happening over the last year or so.

“You could blame it on Dry January but I think all the research is suggesting that people are drinking less, so I think it’s going to be a long term trend that alcohol sales won’t be as big as in the past.

“Most of our customers tend to be younger people that come to the store everyday, and that is the group that is drinking less, so that might be part of the reason why alcohol isn’t as strong for us any more.”

Star performers: “Soft drinks and confectionery lines have been selling very strongly for us.”

Successful NPD

“We’ve just brought in a new flavour from Swizzels. We’ve only had the bags in for a short time, so it’s early days, but our customers prefer to eat British sweets rather than the American equivalents.”