In-store theatre and pumpkin sales helped deliver a successful Halloween for convenience retailers, despite heightened competition from supermarkets and discounters.

Londis retailer Roli Ranger in Ascot, Berkshire, was rewarded for going the “whole hog” for Halloween with a year-on-year sales rise. “In addition to a BJ Toys stand, we had three dedicated promotional bays, two of which were from Musgrave, and hung up all kinds of products around the store, which were all on offer.”

Roli sold out of Halloween Pinatas, which he hung up around the store, as well as the 60 or so pumpkins he sourced locally and from Musgrave.
He added that the local Sainsbury’s and Tesco supermarkets had “acres” of Halloween displays, although it hadn’t impacted on his own sales. “Many people were coming in last minute and didn’t want to drive to the supermarket.”

Kent retailer Binny Amin enjoyed a thriving Halloween, with sales up on last year at his Londis store, near Canterbury. He organised a pumpkin carving competition in his new Budgens store in Whitstable, which attracted about 15 entries and helped to drive footfall. He sold about 80 pumpkins, which ranged in price from £1 to £4, depending on size.

Simon Biddle, of Simply Fresh in Redditch, Worcestershire, did a roaring trade in pumpkins and confectionery. “We stocked about 150 pumpkins and sold them all, as we usually do. But this year we sold them at £1 to compete with the mults, through a Costcutter promotion. The margins weren’t great, but it meant they sold well.”

David Knight, of Knight’s Budgens in Hassocks, West Sussex, was pleased with his confectionary sales: “The sheer volume of Halloween confectionery we sold surprised everyone,” he said.

Birminghan Costcutter retailer Makhan Sunner did especially well with pumpkin sales. He stocks them all year round, but he ordered ten times as many this Halloween. “We sold about 50 boxes within three weeks. It was incredible.”

Planet Retail had predicted Halloween-themed retail sales would rise by 12.1% this year to reach £353m.