Easter is better than Christmas at Headington because all the other stores are closed and we have the monopoly. Last year was our first Easter at the store and we didn’t know what to expect, whereas this time we were fully prepared. We beat last year’s figures, with Easter Sunday sales up from £7,000 to £9,000. The team made sure they put store leaflets in people’s bags as they packed, which will hopefully encourage new customers to come back. I also took on extra staff over the weekend to ensure that shelves were well-faced up at all times so that it made a good first impression on newcomers. Having more staff on the shop floor also meant that they were able to reduce the risk of pilferage.
Fresh flowers really took off over the Easter weekend, which is great as they offer a 40% profit margin. I display them on a stand outside the front of the store so that people can see straight away that we sell them. I tripled my flower order this year, but we still sold out.
The supermarkets reduce the small and medium Easter eggs so much that it isn’t worth trying to compete. Instead, I stuck to a premium egg range this year, which offers customers something a bit different. Ferrero Rocher was the best seller, but they were all really popular and we had completely sold out by Easter Saturday.
Fruit and veg also did well over the holiday. I only had a small chiller last year, but this time round I had more space and was able to blitz it! I made sure we had produce delivered on Friday morning, so that it was still good quality on Easter Sunday.
Next year I will bite the bullet and order more eggs and more flowers. I have now applied to the council for a 24-hour alcohol licence. It will cost £900, but it’s got to be worth it because when staff close up at 11pm there’s often a queue of students waiting to get in. Being open 24 hours will also mean I don’t have any security issues in terms of alarms going off in the middle of the night.
Another bonus will be that I can have all the bake-off products ready for first thing, and I’ll be able to get staff to tidy the shop overnight so that everything is faced up for the morning.
I should hear in the next couple of months. Residents or the police may object, but I am hopeful that, because I have waited a year to apply, people will have had the chance to see that I’m a responsible retailer.