2013 appears to be flying past even quicker than last year, which I didn’t think was possible. Before I knew it the Pancake Day and Valentine mega week had been and gone, proving a huge success in Hassocks and thus proving our customers are both romantic and crazy for cooked batter! Mother’s Day has just passed, which prompted us to build a garden centre-sized display outside our store, which I am pleased to say all sold.
Our sales this year have been challenging to date, but we are still up on the year. If I look back at our sales this week and our like-for-like performance it really does show how important ‘events’ have become to our business. We put a lot of effort into Pancake Day, selling cast iron pans, Chantilly cream, pre-mixed batter, leafy lemons and traditional French buckwheat crêpes. In the past we would have always put on a display, but the poor trading conditions are forcing us to work that much harder to maximise any small event in the 2013 calendar.
The same goes for Valentine’s and Mother’s Day, both of which have significantly boosted sales. We have decided to attempt to capitalise on this for the rest of the year. We currently have planned our annual St George’s Day local tasting event, American Independence Day event (works very well with the ranges of American product available now), back to school stationery extravaganza and just about anything else we can hang our hat on to try to drive sales.
In my former life in the corporate world, I can still hear the words of an old area manager about setting up the store around some ‘statements of intent’. For example, if you have a good deal or something to shout about, make sure the customers are under no illusion when they come in.
Our customers were under no illusion about our intent when it came to the recent events, and with Easter coming up they will have an eggstravaganza to look forward to in Hassocks (had to get it in!).