Calum Duncan, director of Crown Stores in Inverness, is enjoying strong sales from alcohol and confectionery as people in his area opt to socialise at home during the rainy weather.

Calum Duncan

He says: “Things haven’t been too bad in the store, despite the weather being a bit horrible. We’ve had a lot more people coming in for alcohol - I think because it is something they can have at home and not have to go out in the rain.

“Minimum unit pricing has really helped sales too because now the supermarkets have to charge the same as us for all the high strength lines.

“Our store is only 500 sq ft. so we tend to focus on the best sellers and make the most of the space we have to work with. This also means focusing on staple CTN lines.

“Away from alcohol, our confectionery range has been selling well. We are located close to a local school so the kids often come in looking for sweets and chocolates that they can have as a treat on their way home.

“We try and offer them something healthier like protein bars but most of the time we find they want the standard chocolate bars from the big brands.

“That said, the Grenade protein bars still sell well so we might look to bring in their shakes range to see how people respond to them. It is all about listening and adapting to what the customer wants.

“We’ve also recently started selling Crunchie, Wispa and Dairy Milk Caramel bars in four packs and they seem to have gone really well. They are usually priced at £1 which is good because most people come to our store when they are on a budget.

“We have to offer a mix of value and convenience because that is why people come to us instead of the supermarkets or the bakery next door.

“We don’t do things like sandwich meals deals because we can sell each one for £1.59 and then people can buy crisps alongside for cheaper than the offers at other stores. All our sandwiches come from Booker.

“The bakery next to us does fresh sandwiches so people that come to us want to spend less and aren’t looking for the same type of product.”

Star performers: “Alcohol and confectionery are our best selling categories at the moment.”

Successful NPD

CanOWater aluminium cans

“We have just started selling water in a can from CanO Water, which customers seem to buy because more of them are looking to avoid plastic. We get the range directly from Premier.”

The CanO Water range started rolling out to major retailers last year and is now available to Booker and Spar retailers in 330ml and 500ml cans.

The aluminium cans come in either a pull-top or resealable format and in a choice of still (white) and sparkling (black) variants. Each can in the range is also made using 68% recycled materials.